Published: Aug. 28, 2010
Updated: 9:18 p.m.
By RACHANEE SRISAVASDI and DEEPA BHARATH
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Todd Spitzer, who aspires to be Orange County’s next top prosecutor and was viewed as the likely successor of District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, said he was fired from the law-enforcement agency.
Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for Rackauckas, had confirmed earlier Saturday that Spitzer was no longer an assistant district attorney. “We are legally prohibited from commenting on the separation of Todd Spitzer’s employment status due to confidentiality laws,” she said.
Spitzer said he was fired because of the way he handled an information request with the county Public Administrator/Public Guardian Office.
Public Administrator/Guardian John Williams issued a statement Saturday which did not name Spitzer but said that an assistant district attorney had tried to obtain information to which he was not entitled.
“He tried to get the information by claiming there was a legitimate law-enforcement purpose, using his current title as prosecutor, stating he was a former assemblyman and a county supervisor, and saying he knew me personally,” Williams said. “This conduct is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.”
Williams reported the conduct with the hope that the district attorney would handle it “in an appropriate manner.”
Spitzer said he contacted Williams’ office after he received a call from a woman about a domestic-violence and elder-abuse situation. He called Williams’ office to make sure the matter was being investigated.
“It was a legitimate law-enforcement issue,” Spitzer said. “I had the right to ask another law-enforcement agency if a potential crime had been committed and whether an investigation was ongoing. I had a duty in my position to do my due diligence and make sure this woman was safe.”
Spitzer said he did not throw his weight around with Williams’ staff.
“I asked for the information I needed, I got it, I said, ‘Thank you,’ and that was it. The next thing I know, I get let go and I was told it was because of the way I handled this situation.”
In his opinion, Spitzer said, his firing had nothing to do with his seeking information from Williams’ office. He declined to comment further.
Williams refused to comment further because it is an “internal personnel matter.”
According to its website, Williams’ office “responds to referrals from Adult Protective Services, local law enforcement agencies and the Superior Court to investigate persons, usually elderly, who are unable to properly provide for their personal needs … who are at risk of undue influence by others, or whose property is subject to loss, injury, waste or mismanagement. When appointed by the court, the Public Guardian assumes responsibility for care of the person and his or her assets.”
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