It seems there's
no end of dirty laundry in the hamper of George Argyros, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Spain and Andorra.
Right about the time President Bush was nominating him as Ambassador to Spain, the local district attorney's office was getting ready to sue him and his company Arnel Management Co. for defrauding numerous middle and low-income renters out security deposits, over-charging for repairs, and various other bad acts. Here's the original complaint.
This could have been a major obstacle in the way to getting approved as Ambassador, an appointment Argyros had earned by raising what the Orange County Register tallied up as "tens of millions for Bush's campaign and the GOP." (The LA Times said he "headed a $30-million fund-raising effort in California last year for President Bush.")
Luckily, Argyros' friend Tony Rackauckas is the District Attorney. And he helped put the kibosh on the whole unfortunate matter by getting Argyros' name pulled from the suit. Then, when he was accused of a conflict of interest because Argyros had donated money to his campaign, Rackauckas decided he was really more of a good government man after all and referred the case to the state citing his conflict. These clever shenanigans kept the whole thing on ice long enough to help GA get his ambassadorship. And eventually the state and Arnel settled.
If you're from Orange County you no doubt have heard plenty about this sorry tale. If not, you can check out this site put up by disgruntled members of the DA's Office. Or check out some of the many articles the OCWeekly has written on the subject.
Later: more on GA's long, twilight struggle to force Orange County residents to build an airport with a runway that flies into a mountain.