Jeffrey Anderson in the LA Weekly checks in on the father whose family name has figured prominently in two mayoral elections, and finds more questions looming about Horacio Vignali than about the son who was famously (or notoriously) pardoned at the request of Antonio Villaraigosa, Gloria Molina, Sheriff Lee Baca and Cardinal Roger Mahony, among others. Up in Minnesota, where young Carlos Vignali was tried and sent to federal prison, the cops on the case still talk about the Vignali family cocaine ring. The U.S. Attorney (now local judge) who prosecuted Carlos tells Anderson:
"We all felt the kid was a sacrificial lamb who was told to lie down and do his time, and that the family would take care of him when he got out. That punk kid was not the mastermind for kilos from South America. Our sense was that the father was well connected. But we could never tell who in Los Angeles was protecting him."
A senior federal judge there says prosecutors here, politicians and the media all gave Vignali a pass: "The whole thing stunk...It had money and corruption and fraud written all over it." Anderson's peg for the story is that, years after it was first reported that "the DEA long suspected Horacio Vignali was a major drug trafficker with ties to organized crime," he is still a big player in downtown L.A. real estate.
Also in the Weekly: Harold Meyerson gets inside to chat with Villaraigosa about his first week and the coming term. The mayor-elect, who didn't believe his consultants' assurances he would win by fifteen points, says he wants to take over responsibility for the schools.