The Partisan | Mozingo the Magnificent Carmel’s City Attorney tries sleight of hand to divert attention from a troubled mayor

OPINION |

By Royal Calkins

Glen Mozingo

The city of Carmel’s press conference regarding the investigation of Mayor Steve Dallas was a grand piece of political theater or, better yet, a magic show featuring the illusions of Mozingo the Magnificent.

Last Wednesday’s event was billed as an opportunity for city officials to report on the long and expensive investigation into allegations of sexual harassment on the part of the mayor and a press conference at which the media and public would be able, under strict time limits, to ask questions about the whole depressing affair.

Those things did occur, but City Attorney Glen Mozingo twice managed to divert everyone’s attention away from his sketchy account of the investigative findings and the resulting reprimand of Dallas. Instead, he got the ticket-buying public to focus on a couple of intriguing little mysteries, one of which may have something to do with the Dallas investigation and another that apparently is fully unrelated.

Mozingo looked the part. No top hat but he was impeccably dressed in a black suit and an exceedingly starchy white shirt. He has a patrician presence, with the almost-British accent to go with it. I am told he trades in rare books. His old law firm in Newport Beach also listed offices in New York and London. He is the sort of fellow who uses Esquire after his name even when it is superfluous. As in City Attorney Glen R. Mozingo, Esq.

After rattling off some of the weaker allegations against Dallas, Mozingo announced that he had more interesting things to share. Specifically, but seriously lacking in specifics, that he had been the target of an extortion attempt and that Dallas had been the target of a bizarre assault.

Mozingo provided little detail about either bauble of misdirection. He didn’t say when or where either possible crime occurred and said basically nothing more about the extortion thing except that it is under investigation. It wasn’t clear, but it seems as though Mozingo himself is investigating the alleged attempt to extort him and that he intends to send the case to the District Attorney’s Office if he decides prosecution is warranted. (That isn’t the way things usually work, but magic is in a different dimension.)

About the assault, Mozingo said a couple of Carmel residents had flagged the city to a conspiracy in which several people hired some fellow for $100 in an attempt to make Dallas look bad. Mozingo said the man grabbed the mayor from behind in a restroom with the intent of starting a brawl that was to be filmed. The plot was broken up by a retired police officer, but criminal charges could be on the horizon, Mozingo told the captivated crowd.

There were no capes or wands, but Mozingo created the illusion that the restroom incident had occurred recently and was related to the sexual harassment investigation. Later, I was able to ask if there was a connection and he acknowledged there was not. I had spoiled his trick, but the performance went on.

The Carmel Pine Cone shed some additional light on the matter on Friday by reporting that the restroom incident had occurred not recently but more than a year ago, February 2017, at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch. It is entirely possible that even if a crime was committed, the statute of limitations may have run.

Why then was Mozingo bringing this up now? So reporters and the public wouldn’t focus on the fact that the harassment investigation did sustain some of the allegations against Dallas even though the result was only a reprimand? So no one would ask why the city seemingly invited all comers to share all manner of grievances against the mayor but then limited the inquiry to those with sexual overtones?

Those who complained about Dallas before and during the investigation were promised confidentiality. Does anyone believe their names weren’t shared with the mayor? (In case you’ve forgotten, Mozingo and Dallas are political pals. Mozingo helped Dallas get elected and Dallas helped Mozingo get the city attorney position. )

Mozingo actually had brought the assault matter up previously, very briefly, the night before at a regular council meeting. Again, it seemed to be a diversion. He was in the midst of responding to Councilman Bobby Richards’ concerns about the fees Mozingo has been charging the city. Was he thinking that it would be smart to get the council thinking about an attack on the mayor instead of legal fees?

Richards was concerned about how much Mozingo had charged the city for work done in November and December, some $70,000 worth of work over and above what he does for his $13,000 monthly stipend. In response, there was more sleight of hand. Mozingo talked about how his efforts had resulted in the city being reimbursed for more than $80,000 from an insurance claim that had previously been denied. How that connected to his fees wasn’t clear, which seems to have been the point.

Subsequent attempts by Voices to get elaboration on that and other topics have failed.

City Administrator Chip Rerig referred all our questions to Mozingo, who has not responded and apparently hopes to make them disappear. As we all know, magicians don’t like to explain their tricks.

Calkins writes a weekly column on local politics and public affairs. He can be reached at calkinsroyal@gmail.com.

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Royal Calkins

About Royal Calkins

Contributing writer Royal Calkins has worked for newspapers in Santa Cruz and Monterey. For the past couple of years, he has produced a local news and commentary blog, the Monterey Bay Partisan. He can be reached at calkinsroyal@gmail.com.

3 thoughts on “The Partisan | Mozingo the Magnificent Carmel’s City Attorney tries sleight of hand to divert attention from a troubled mayor

  1. More of Much Ado About Nothing, or should it be Another Tempest in a Carmel Tea Cup? Carmel’s city attorney dressed impeccably in black and wearing an over-starched white shirt! Now those are screaming headlines! And with an almost British accent to boot, who dares to put Esq. following his name (which is about as standard as medical doctors putting MD after their names, dentists DDS, or university professors Ph.D.). Oh my, oh my. Now, that the investigation of the mayor alleged “sexual misconduct” has resulted in findings similar to those of the investigation of Russian meddling in our election, in other words Much Ado About Nothing, it is time to divert our attention to those associated with the alleged miscreants on whom we couldn’t pin any blame: who better than an over-starched white shirt in the case of Carmel. Another possibility for a topic might have been to talk about women who now feel entitled to demand that men they meet socially whom they don’t like just because they don’t measure up to their highly refined standards and seem offensive. The mayor of Watsonville, a good mayor, has been accused by some woman who claims that 20 years ago, he offended her (which he denies) has decided not to seek re-election rather than deal with this morass. I have fought for women’s equality all my life, but this has nothing to do with equality. It’s McCarthyism at its very worst, when anyone can totally destroy the life and career of any man simply by making unsubstantiated allegations against him. And not only that, to persecute friends and associates who speak about on behalf of the accused, as has happened in Hollywood where fellow actors have been blacklisted for daring to support an accused. Wouldn’t that be a worthy subject?

  2. It’s helpful to be in touch with Carmel citizens and business people; you learn that so many have been harrassed and threatened by Dallas. Police reports were made in some instances. Too bad that it is not about “nothing” but many of the aggrieved people were at city hall on March 7, such as a woman who made a police report after being threatened over the phone by Dallas if she didn’t stop doing something, he would do such and such; and Dallas threatened an employee of a governmental organization that he’d just been given a board membership to as new mayor, to stop talking about what the employee is an expert in and paid to talk about — so Dallas could control is own viewpoint. Another woman who had been threatened, sat silently listening to the councilors’ decision that Dallas is “bad” and “unacceptable” but can stay as mayor, and she’s still traumatized by what he did. In any other town, he would be gone, and the city attorney would have had to recuse himself because of perceived mistrust which is a type of conflict of interest.
    Royal is right that city hall was a magic show. But he’s been
    around and can see through that kind of show, and perhaps you should wonder why women in their 50s-80s would acknowledge they’ve been harassed by Dallas — not for the fun of it, that’s for sure.

  3. “I’ve been absent for a while, but now I remember why I used to love this website. Thanks, I will try and check back more frequently. How frequently you update your web site?”

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