Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Darrell Issa's Dark and Shady Past

The New Yorker has a profile on Darrell Issa, the republican who called Obama the most "corrupt" president in modern times, and the man who's intent on weakening the Obama administration in his new position as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform:
On March 15, 1972, three months after Issa allegedly stole Jay Bergey’s car and one month after he left the Army for the first time, Ohio police arrested Issa and his older brother, William, and charged them with stealing a red Maserati from a Cleveland showroom. The judge eventually dismissed the case.
While the Maserati case was pending, Issa went to college. Just before 11 P.M. on Friday, December 1, 1972, two police officers on patrol in the small town of Adrian noticed Issa driving a yellow Volkswagen the wrong way down a one-way street. The police pulled him over, and, as Issa retrieved the car registration, an officer saw something peculiar in the glove compartment. He searched it, and, according to the police report, found a .25-calibre Colt automatic inside a box of ammunition, along with a “military pouch” that contained “44 rounds of ammo and a tear gas gun and two rounds of ammo for it.” Issa was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon. The policeman asked why he was armed. “He stated in Ohio you could carry a gun as long as you had a justifiable reason,” the report said. “His justifiable reason was for his car’s protection and his.” Issa pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of possession of an unregistered gun. He paid a small fine and was sentenced to six months’ probation. Read more
Everyone has a past, but Issa's is filled with darkness. Other miscellaneous Issa facts: Issa's company brought us the Viper car security alarm, his mother was Mormon, his grandfather Lebanese, he's good at fixing things, he likes gadgets, he crashed into the back of a driver and left the scene, he has an image manager, he was suspected of burning down a factory of his company but not before removing a computer and upping the insurance:
Issa’s early business career was equally tumultuous. He started his car-alarm empire by acquiring the Steal Stopper brand in what was essentially a hostile takeover. A man named Joey B. Adkins owned the company, and Issa loaned him sixty thousand dollars. When Adkins was late on a payment, Issa went to court and foreclosed on the loan. Two days later, Adkins told me, Issa called and said that he wanted Adkins to come visit him at his new office. He gave Adkins the address of Steal Stopper. “I just took your company,” Adkins recalled him saying.
Once in control, Issa allegedly used an unusual method to fire Jack Frantz, an employee. Frantz told the Los Angeles Times that Issa came into his office, placed a box on the table, and opened it to reveal a gun. Issa told the paper, “Shots were never fired. If I asked Jack to leave, then I think I had every right to ask Jack to leave. . . . I don’t recall [having a gun]. I really don’t. I don’t think I ever pulled a gun on anyone in my life.”
Issa was soon suspected of doing something worse: burning down the factory. The initial notion that an electrical socket had caused the fire was challenged. The science of determining whether a fire was caused by arson can be flawed. But a fire-analysis report commissioned by the St. Paul insurance company, and dated October 19, 1982, a month after the incident, concluded that the fire was “incendiary.” The report cited “suspicious burn patterns,” such as “two separate major areas of origin,” and it said, “No accidental source of heating power was located at either of these two major areas of origin.” The manner in which stacks of cardboard boxes burned was inconsistent with an accidental fire. A flammable liquid appeared to have been poured over the boxes. The blue flames seen emanating from the roof were evidence, according to the investigators, of burning carbon monoxide that is produced when an accelerant like gasoline ignites. The black smoke was also a clue. “Such black smoke normally occurs in a fire only when a hydrocarbon is burning,” the report said. When investigators tested burn damage from inside the factory, they found “the same identical mixture of flammable hydrocarbons” in four samples taken from diverse locations.