Funeral services were pending Wednesday for former Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl, who cooperated with federal authorities and helped ensure the eventual conviction of then-Sheriff Mike Carona.
Haidl, 61, died last night of natural causes at Hoag Hospital Newport Beach, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino.
Haidl was a wealthy businessman who earned most of his money from his Nationwide Auction Systems, which he later sold, along with real estate and other interests. He gave Carona hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts and in return was appointed assistant sheriff, though he lacked any real
law enforcement experience.
He eventually cooperated with federal authorities in their corruption probe of Carona, and he wore a wire during three meetings with the sheriff. Based largely on a conversation that Haidl secretly recorded when the two met in a Newport Beach restaurant Aug. 13, 2007, Carona was convicted of witness
tampering and eventually sentenced to 5 1/2 years in prison. Carona appealed, but his conviction was upheld, and he began serving his prison term in January 2011.
In 2010, Haidl was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service for filing a false 2002 tax form. He admitted he took money from various trusts and partnerships to pay for his son Greg's defense on sexual assault charges but did not claim the $534,374 as adjusted gross income.
Greg Haidl was convicted for taking part in the gang rape of an unconscious 17-year-old girl. He served a prison term and was released.
In a statement to the Orange County Register, Haidl's family said, "He died as he lived, surrounded by the people he loved. He will be greatly missed by all who were privileged to know him.''
-- City News Service