Robert Bush 5 p.m., Jan. 23
Bad actor surfaces among top San Diego cops
Owner of uniform store and police museum commissioner faces sentencing in federal court here next month on kickback conspiracy count
San Diego being the kind of rough-and-tumble law enforcement, military and border intelligence town that many say it is, it may not be too surprising to find lots of interesting characters on the board of commissioners of its non-profit police museum.
And, as might be expected of a cast of high-end lawmen, none are talkative about a bit of uncomfortable enforcement business.
There is Bill Maheu, son of late ex-FBI man and CIA operative Bob Maheu, who ran mobster Johnny Roselli in the agency's futile attempts to kill Fidel Castro back in the 1960s.
Maheu the elder was also top henchman for shadowy Las Vegas-based billionaire Howard Hughes; son Bill, an ex-San Diego executive assistant police chief, currently works for Qualcomm as senior director, strategic development.
Then there is retired assistant chief of police Robert Kanaski, who while head of the SDPD's vice squad handled the tough work on the undercover Cheetahs strip club takedown with the FBI that resulted in the indictment of three city councilman and the club's Vegas bagman, along with its owner Mike Galardi.
Ex-San Diego police chief and sheriff Bill Kolender, who was reprimanded in 1986 for fixing the tickets of Chargers players and linked to Rolodex madam Karen Wilkening, is also on the list; he is now reportedly suffering from Alzheimers.
But the commissioner of current interest to U.S. prosecutors is Marc Stein, set to face sentencing next month in federal court here for conspiring to provide kickbacks in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Post Office.
According to the museum's website:
Commissioner Stein is the owner of Ace Uniforms and Accessories. With three locations, his fifty-year-old company is one of the largest and most respected emergency equipment retailers in Southern California.
Even though he has only been a commissioner since 2009, Commissioner Stein has been helping to support the San Diego Police Museum for many years prior to that.
In addition to sponsoring events, Commissioner Stein subsidizes all of the museums uniforms and accessory purchases.
An August 14 news release posted online by the office of U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy describes Stein and his operation differently:
In December of 2009, Carl Adrian, Sr. received a proposal from Ace Uniforms in San Diego (which had recently lost its license to sell Postal uniforms) that he and his company, California Uniforms (which at that time possessed a valid license to sell Postal uniforms) process the uniform allowance card purchases made at Ace Uniforms, Inc. stores in San Diego and Phoenix, falsely representing the purchases to be the sales of California Uniforms, in return for a kickback of 10% of the amount paid by the Postal Service.
Adrian admitted that he agreed to this proposal and during the period from December 9, 2009, through August 31, 2010, he and his firm improperly processed payments totaling approximately $105,000 for Postal uniform items sold at Ace Uniforms.
This is one of a series of cases involving this scheme to defraud.
On February 2, 2012, defendant Ace Uniforms, Inc. and its owner, Marc Stein, pled guilty to Conspiracy to Provide Kickbacks for their part in the scheme.
Ace Uniforms and Stein are scheduled to be sentenced before Judge Hayes on September 23, 2013, at 9:00 a.m.
Both Ace Uniforms and California Uniforms agreed to forfeit to the government all Postal uniforms found at their locations during the execution of search warrants at their business locations.
A man who returned a phone message left at Ace Uniforms and who identified himself as Stein said he was not the same man as the federal defendant and declined to answer questions regarding the case, including whether he had ever been a confidential informant for the government.
At least two museum commissioners have long been friends.
As we reported in May 2008, Maheu provided $900 worth of Chargers tickets to Kanaski, according to a subsequent personal financial disclosure filing by the vice cop, on which he wrote: "I do not have details of the event as I received the tickets from [Assistant] Chief [William] Maheu."
The gift appeared to violate the state's then-$390 single source limit.
Reached by phone ... Maheu said he had obtained the tickets from Patti Roscoe, a convention and meeting planner with close ties to the local Republican Party and the chamber of commerce. She is also a major backer of the reelection bid of Mayor Jerry Sanders.
Maheu said Roscoe had purchased the tickets at a charity fund-raiser and had given them to him to be distributed to police officers as a reward for their work during the autumn fires.
Maheu, who said he was not aware of the state’s $390 per individual gift limitation, said Kanaski was picked because he had managed the Qualcomm Stadium evacuation center during the fires.
Kanaski did not respond to messages, and Stacey Fulhorst, executive director of the City’s Ethics Commission, said she couldn’t comment on the matter.
We've left calls with Stein’s lawyer Robert Grimes, Maheu, and the police museum seeking further information about the government’s case against Ace.
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