Private eye posts ‘incriminating’ mailing address as DA investigates District 3 candidate’s residency

By André Coleman , Kevin Uhrich 01/24/2013

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Recently, people began talking about a private investigator who’d come to town and was secretly snooping into the backgrounds of certain people.

Not long after that, a Pasadena City Council candidate’s estranged wife complained about her mail being tampered with.

But as all that was happening, operatives for one candidate started claiming their political nemesis lied about his residency. That’s when the District Attorney’s Office began taking a keen interest in what has been going on.

What sounds a little bit like a storyline from a Lifetime or USA Network melodrama, or an example of Nixon-era campaign dirty tricks, is actually a condensed update of what’s been happening in the red-hot race for the City Council District 3 seat between John J. Kennedy, Ishmael Trone and the Rev. Dr. Nicholas Benson. The three men are competing to replace former Councilman and now state Assemblyman Chris Holden in the March 5 municipal election.

On Thursday, LA County Deputy District Attorney Anne Ingalls confirmed her office is looking into a complaint filed against Trone, alleging he lied about his residency when he filed papers at City Hall to run for the seat left vacant by Holden, and that Trone is actually living in Altadena with his wife, from whom he is legally separated.

“There is an inquiry regarding Mr. Trone’s residency,” Ingalls told the Weekly Thursday. “We will look into it and review whatever we need to review.”

Ingalls would not tell the Weekly whether Trone had been notified of the DA’s probe or what charges he would face if found to be lying about his residency. “I can’t go that far,” Ingalls said. “We don’t know if we would file charges. I can’t really talk about that at all.”

Trone expressed shock when told by the Weekly he was being investigated by the DA’s Office, but said he was not worried.

“Well, where the hell am I sleeping every night? That’s where I am every night. I have not heard anything about this from the District Attorney’s Office.”

During an interview with this newspaper, Trone provided several years’ worth of utility bills listing him as residing at a four-plex he purchased in 2000 which also houses his business at 83 E. Orange Grove Blvd., home of F&M Financial, a bail bonds and tax business started by his mother, Madelyn, and his stepfather, Felix, in the early 1970s.

City Clerk Mark Jomsky told the Weekly Trone used that address on nomination papers and on an affidavit of eligibility to vote in the district. According to the state Election Code, candidates cannot run for a council seat unless they are able to vote in that district. They sign the official documents when completed “under penalty of perjury.” The maximum penalty for perjury is one year in jail, according to the California Penal Code.

Said Trone, “I understand that I signed the forms under penalty of perjury; I read it. There is nothing more I can say. This is getting ridiculous.”

Actually, it is not as ridiculous as it is extreme, with Torrance-based gumshoe Jan B. Tucker, who owns and operates the Web site “The Detective Diary,” now playing a role in the campaign. On his Web site, Tucker calls Trone, who has the support of Holden, part of “The Holden Machine.” A blog listing on that site shows copies of mailers and letters addressed to Trone at an Altadena home that he purchased with his wife.

It was unknown who may have solicited the services of Tucker.

“Legally I can’t say if I have been hired or working a case on this,” Tucker told the Weekly. The private investigator also would not reveal if he had gone through Juanita Trone’s mail to scan or copy the pieces posted on his blog.

Tucker is loosely connected to Pasadena Unified School District school board member — and Kennedy supporter — Ramon Miramontes, through membership in the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Miramontes said he knows Tucker, but did not hire him.

Although Ingalls declined to say who wrote the complaint about Trone, and no other newspapers have reported on the DA’s inquiry, Miramontes seemed to know all about the investigation, according to a series of text messages he sent to his friend, local restaurateur Robin Salzer, a former District 1 candidate rumored to be considering a mayoral run in two years.

According to Salzer, who also supports Trone, Miramontes wrote “Ish is going to lose dude.” Another message from Miramontes reads “The DA is going after Trone. There is an investigation on him for not living in the district. I’m no longer backing U for mayor and NW [Northwest] Latinos will not back you.”

Miramontes said he knew nothing about the DA investigation and said he was not working with Tucker, whom he described as a “well-known private investigator.”

Miramontes also refused to say whether he sent any text messages to Salzer, who shared them with the Weekly.

In his candidate interview, Kennedy said Miramontes is not working for his campaign, a point which the school board member himself confirmed. Miramontes did tell the Weekly, however, he believed Trone was working with Martin Truitt, a well-known political consultant who works mostly with politically conservative candidates.

“If I was working for John Kennedy, I would expect him to tell the truth and be proud of it,” Miramontes said. “Unlike Ishmael Trone, who is not being truthful about Martin Truitt being his consultant.”

Truitt did not return phone calls, and Trone has, on several occasions, denied having any involvement with Truitt.

Kennedy denied any connections to Tucker or the DA’s investigation.

“I am not responsible for it, and no, I am not aware of an investigation,” Kennedy said. “My goal is to discuss the issues that are important to the residents of District 3, and that is what I have been doing by knocking on doors and talking to the residents about the real issues that impact their lives on a daily basis. Dr. Benson and Mr. Trone have every right to talk about the issues as well.”

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Where's June Cleaver when you need her?

So, a man who is "estranged" from his wife still gets mail at her address ... more than a couple of decades ago, that used to happen to me too. Of course, it happened to me while I was also (for a time) living out of the country. Then I came back to Pasadena, and stayed at several places around the northwest for a couple of years, and ulimately ended up where I am now. Occasionally, I still get mail at a friend's house in Altadena.

Getting mail at a place don't necessarily mean that the addressee lives there. Come on Andre, is this the only "dirt" you can find?

Meanwhile, if I was a law enforcer, I'd be asking (along with the postal inspector) HOW that PI got facsimile copies of somebody's private mail envelopes when even just opening up anybody's unlocked mailbox and simply looking at that depository's contents without permission is a big-time felony.

Whether he did it himself or got somebody else to do the dirty deed, PI boy's having copies (or merely just knowing where what was in there came from, as the above suggests) is prima facie evidence that he has unquestionably violated postal security law!

i think that bugger better broker himself a plea deal and rat out quick who hired him, elsewise the local DA (if he ain't already bought-out) should skewer that (Magnum-not) crook.


posted by DanD on 1/24/13 @ 08:24 p.m.

This just makes everybody look bad.

posted by Vivavilla on 1/25/13 @ 12:00 p.m.

@ DanD--Dan, I understand why you came to the conclusions about my printing of digital copies of mail addressed to Ishmael Trone was illicit, the problem is that the conclusion is not logical, and I mean that in the strictest sense as somebody who got an "A" in university level logic as a required course for my Political Science degree (double major with Chicano Studies).

To be both "valid" and "sound" your argument would have to assume "unstated premises" which wouldn't be true (in court it's called "assumes facts not in evidence."

Did you download the photos and check their EXIF properties? Do you know what EXIF refers to? Are there legal ways to obtain somebody's mail that you didn't think of? Do you assume that because I'm a private investigator that I personally obtained them? Because I'm a hybrid journalist and private investigator did it occur to you that Section 1070 of the Evidence Code and/or Article I, Section 2(b) of the California Constitution might grant me immunity from refusing to discuss my sources (assuming arguendo that I did something illegal in the first place, which I didn't)?

Those are the question which you, and the readers, should ponder in relation to your assertions.

Jan B. Tucker

posted by janbtucker on 1/25/13 @ 12:40 p.m.

Welcome to Pasadena!

Payback is a bitch and "Ish" is getting his. . . .

Vote for Benson!

posted by Paul G on 1/25/13 @ 12:59 p.m.

Hey, JB Tucker;

Crooks who have inflated egos about how their own (allegedly) university-inflated selves are LEGEND throughout America's Club Fed. We also know that the Federal judicial system is just a newer-wave, different brand of national gangbangers who have sold their souls to whatever corporation has the most cash, just check out how many war crooks are currently working in WDC's Executive branch.

The only question which I ponder is just how you think your end-around federal privacy law somehow protects you from prosecution. If you arranged for it yourself, you're a crook. If you conspired with somebody else (even inadvertently), you're still a goddam criminal. HOWEVER you've profited from any illegal conduct, that just makes you a cleverly self-absorbed perp.

The only real problem here is just how many Federal friends you (think you've) really got running interference for you, and just how beholden they really are to protecting your ass in a pinch. You're claiming that -- somehow -- you're a special case with some brand of super-intellectual, legal exemption to the rules ... I'm just replying "bullshyte."

Let the investigating begin.


posted by DanD on 1/25/13 @ 05:59 p.m.

The Sierra Madre Tattler version of this story was up a full two days before Andre's "exclusive." Of course, Jan Tucker's original version appeared on his blog, The Detective's Story, all the way back on January 17. But yeah, that is the thing about Pasadena politics. There really is a lot of trash to go through. Especially now that the PUSD land rush is on.

posted by Eric Maundry on 1/27/13 @ 09:20 a.m.

Is DanD Peter Dreier? Anybody know?

posted by Eric Maundry on 1/27/13 @ 11:02 a.m.

If DanD were Peter Dreier, then he'd probably "handle" himself as PeteD. Fact is, I have no particular dog in this fight (beyond perhaps, living in the community), and I really don't personally know any of these three candidates.

But it makes me wonder exactly who from beyond N.W. Pasadena's community council district of color (as the above PI dirtdigger surely ain't local) is trying to poison-the-well against I.Trone (perhaps as an example to the other two melanin-enriched candidates about what can hit the fan if they ever fail to selectively play subordinate after having been selected by the vote-counters).

As it is, the Northwest continues to be ripe for gentrification.


posted by DanD on 1/27/13 @ 01:49 p.m.

Dandy - Very odd then. You sure do sound like him. So you're just talkin' out yer ass cuzza you don't like no out a towers then, huh?

You know, maybe if you read some of the articles I have cited above, your questions might be answered. You know, like read stuff? Crazy notion for a guy what calls himself Dandy, but then again I am not from Pasadena, either.

posted by Eric Maundry on 1/27/13 @ 02:44 p.m.

Hey Eric;

Go sleep it off just a bit, then maybe you can compose a comprehensive sentence, perhaps even make a little sense.


posted by DanD on 1/27/13 @ 04:14 p.m.

Yo Dandy. Did you read the articles, or is that beyond your motivational abilities?

posted by Eric Maundry on 1/27/13 @ 04:22 p.m.

Also Eric;

If you have links, then post the links. The PW's comments sections are rather good for it. I personally don't have the time to prove your point, so you need to do it yourself.


posted by DanD on 1/27/13 @ 04:27 p.m.

Dandy - you're hanging around here and you don't have the time? Oh Dandy. You're just a big silly.

posted by Eric Maundry on 1/27/13 @ 04:32 p.m.

Yeah Eric, and you're just a troll.


posted by DanD on 1/27/13 @ 04:42 p.m.

@ DanD: "Melanin enriched." WTF are you in the KKK or what?

posted by janbtucker on 1/27/13 @ 07:11 p.m.


posted by DanD on 1/27/13 @ 08:33 p.m.

I'm Dandy, and I approved this message.

posted by I'm Dandy on 1/27/13 @ 10:15 p.m.

Well, JanT, the USPS mailbox thief ...

Lifting things out of context seems to be a professional perversion of yours! Identifying any particular person as "melanin-enriched" is merely another way of saying "person-of-color," Just as identifying the melanin-deficient usually refers to Caucasians. You, on the other hand, go all kkkinky racist by presuming such descriptives are somehow insulting. You are indeed an out-of-towner, aren't you?

What kind of white-folk you working for anyway boy? Any of those who tried chaining Chris with a short leash? Tear-em down and keep'em under the heel, that seems to be your motto here.


posted by DanD on 1/28/13 @ 06:11 a.m.

Dandy is an out-of-towner. Actually, it appears that he is an out-of-planeter.

posted by I'm Dandy on 1/28/13 @ 07:25 a.m.

Andre Coleman is not a reporter.... he's a higher gun and a racist. Anyone who follows his selective reporting style (don't waste your time) knows this guy is an extension of the Peter Dreier stain, who together with Ed Honowitz, Renatta Cooper, Fuhrman, ACT, Paul Little among other provocateurs, perpetuate race tensions in order to keep power. I wouldn't trust anything, any of them say -- NOR anyone they support.

posted by 67ghia on 1/28/13 @ 10:37 a.m.

@DanD - why would you even mention the color of skin? Guaranteed you have white hoods in your attic. Maybe JanT can find em. In the meantime, glad other media and blogs are covering what "local newspapers" don't. We are seeing the demise and desperation of those becoming irrelevant.

posted by 67ghia on 1/28/13 @ 11:00 a.m.

Apparently the Holden/Dreier cabal see our public schools as an opportunity to do some high density housing development. I have been calling it the PUSD land rush. I don't think that there can be any doubt that these people are on their way to destroying public education here.

posted by Eric Maundry on 1/28/13 @ 12:42 p.m.

This is so "Pasadena". The lowest level of decency is always reached and maintained with the "race card" being played by someone. It will never change.

posted by Paul G on 1/29/13 @ 04:24 p.m.

hope it does change - it needs to - the district deserves it - there are a lot of people that moved into the district over the last 10 years - with no connection to all this history and controversy, lots of people simply want our neighborhoods safe and viable - we want better and more diverse economic development, better quality of life - breaking through the stronghold on the district seems to be a losing battle - but we keep trying so that the community thrives

posted by IndianaColony on 1/29/13 @ 11:08 p.m.
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