Dana Rohrabacher was an oddity: a Republican lawmaker sent from Democratic stronghold to the California legislature he's now out of a job).
Rohrabacher was a genuinely terrible lawmaker: in ten years, the Tea Party darling voted to hand the president all-pervasive, permanent, unchecked spying powers; claimed the neo-Nazi march in Charlottesville was a Democratic Party conspiracy; was tricked into screaming racist slurs by Sacha Baron Cohen; called the cops on a constituent who asked him persistent questions; etc.
But one thing you may not remember is that Rohrabacher, a man who claims to venerate private property rights above all others, rented a house in Orange County, changed the locks to deny the owner entry, then trashed the place, filling it with garbage, destroying the fixtures, furniture and appliances; cutting the phone lines; and leaving behind squirming maggots under the stove. The damage cost $28,500 to fix.
Then Rohrabacher sued his landlord for not refunding his security deposit.
In August, a year after he, his wife and their triplets left the disaster and stiffed Polyniak out of a week of due rent, the congressman hired a lawyer, Devon R. Lucas, to file a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court. According to the complaint, Rohrabacher, who skipped all military service when he was eligible to fight in Vietnam and nowadays hails himself "a patriot," thinks he and his wife are the victims in the dispute. He wants Polyniak—a soft-spoken construction subcontractor who honorably served in the U.S. Marines—to pay him $20,000 for not refunding his security deposit in a timely manner.
With a scheduled April 2014 court-management conference, the case doesn't look close to a respectable resolution. Lucas has sent Polyniak more than 50 hostile letters, a tactic apparently designed to win a default by handing the ex-landlord ever-increasing legal bills. What expenses Rohrabacher is incurring, if any, in the battle are unknown. Lucas, who lists his law-office address as a Costa Mesa mail drop, did not respond to inquiries about whether he is providing the congressman free or discounted services.
In September, Polyniak filed a cross-complaint in court. That lawsuit alleges in part that the Rohrabachers "failed to perform their obligations under the lease and have breached the terms and conditions of the lease in numerous, material ways." Among the breaches: The congressman—who'd quietly bought a $1 million home in another part of Costa Mesa—refused to provide a forwarding address for an extended period of time.
Dana Rohrabacher Is Dirty [R. Scott Moxley/OC Weekly]
Rohrabacher Comes Clean About Messy Housing Dispute [Warren Rojas/Rollcall]
(Thanks, Fipi Lele!)