A court filing by the Orange County public defender's office claims that the district attorney declined to file charges in an alleged kickback scheme involving high school coaches and a sports equipment supplier because one of its top investigators was involved in similar “criminal activity” with the same company.
The allegation follows the D.A.'s decision to not file charges against three Capistrano Unified School District coaches allegedly involved in a kickback scheme with Laguna Hills-based Lapes Athletic Team Sales. An earlier investigation by Capistrano Unified found that the coaches accepted bribes from Lapes Athletic Team Sales and stole more than $80,000 from the district.
“The District Attorney’s Office has failed to pursue the matter despite sufficient evidence, giving rise to the appearance of protecting its own,” Deputy Public Defender Adam Vining claimed in a motion filed last month.
The D.A. says Vining's assertions are baseless.
“In order to defend the criminal actions of their client, the public defender made these unfounded, inflammatory accusations that are misleading and completely unrelated to the charges against their client,” the D.A.’s office wrote in a statement.