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Costa Mesa Councilman Jim Righeimer calls DUI incident a setup

August 24, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Costa Mesa city councilman is calling his recent brush with the law a set-up.

Outside Costa Mesa City Hall, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer, his wife Lene by his side, insisted he was set up when police knocked on the door of his house Wednesday night.

"The officer asked me to come outside and asked me if I'd been drinking. I said no. He said that someone had called in and said you had been and you were driving erratically," said Righeimer. "At that point he gave me the pen sobriety test in front of my wife and kids."

Righeimer says he had just left a local bar where he drank two Diet Cokes. Police say the sobriety test indicated Righeimer had not been drinking.

Righeimer says the unidentified caller had directed police to his house and was sitting in a white car across the street as police arrived. As he was leaving, Righeimer's wife confronted the man.

"He rolls down the window and he says 'Are you standing in front of my car for a reason?' I said, 'Yeah, I'd like to know who you are,' and he gave me a mean frown and he made a sharp turn to avoid hitting me and proceeded to leave," said Lene.

Righeimer offered no evidence, but he believes the call to police was meant to embarrass him.

"I have no doubt in my mind that the labor unions that we're fighting in this city are behind it," said Righeimer.

The Orange County Employees Association says the accusation that the union is involved is ridiculous.

"It's ridiculous and absolutely untrue. Anytime something goes wrong Righeimer blames the unions. Hopefully voters can see through that," said OCEA Spokesperson Jennifer Muir in a statement.

Righeimer has proposed laying off some city workers and outsourcing jobs to the private sector.

"This was not a coincidence, this was not a mistake," said Righeimer.

Police say they are investigating to check the validity of the source of the initial police report.

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