All of which is mighty fine with me, because there really isn't much I would rather write about more than this story. It is just too good to let go. And if Andre' thinks that somehow he is helping his friend Ishmael Trone out, well, it is certainly not as much as he'd hoped, I'm sure. Something I believe I will be able show you. Here is what he has blessed us with this week (click here):
At home with Ishmael Trone: Council candidate pursues those he believes tampered with estranged wife's mail after DA confirms residency probe - Pasadena City Council District 3 candidate Ishmael Trone simply could not believe he was the target of a criminal inquiry into his residency. On Friday, after a story about the probe appeared on the Pasadena Weekly Web site (Mod: PW's article showed up 2 days after The Tattler), Trone said he called the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. While he would not say with whom he spoke, he insisted that he was not under investigation for allegedly living in Altadena, outside the district, as reported by the newspaper.
However, during a visit to the East Orange Grove Boulevard apartment Trone says he’s been living in since splitting up with his wife, Juanita, three years ago, the candidate was quickly disabused of that contention. Meanwhile, Juanita Trone and the couple’s daughters, ages 16 and 20, still live in the Marengo Avenue home the couple purchased together in Altadena when they were still together. Anne Ingalls, head of the DA’s Public Integrity Division, who was contacted by phone by the Weekly and spoke directly with Trone in a three-way conference call, confirmed her office is looking into a complaint he lives outside District 3.
In California, it is a crime to for a candidate to run for office in a district in which they are ineligible to vote. Residency within the district is a requirement for eligibility. “I can confirm that there has been a complaint regarding your residency,” Ingalls told Trone in the call. “I can’t discuss it with you any further, and I cannot tell you who filed the complaint.”
Claims that Trone — one of three candidates hoping to fill the council seat vacated by former Councilman Chris Holden after Holden was elected in November to the state Assembly — was back with his wife and living with her and their two daughters began surfacing after photos of mail addressed to Trone in Altadena appeared on the Web site of a private investigator who supports Trone’s main opponent, John J. Kennedy.
How the items of mail were acquired, photographed and posted at the blog “Detective Diaries,” operated by Torrance private investigator and journalist Jan B. Tucker, was not immediately known.
All pretty much stuff we'd heard last week. But, as you read on, you can see there are also a couple of new ingredients that have been whisked into the mix.
Ishmael Trone wants you to believe two things. Both are very important to his defense. The first is that the letters and other mail addressed to his Altadena home where his wide and daughters still live, the stuff with his name on it, were stolen. Not plucked out of the trash, not found laying in the gutter, not blowing in the wind, but taken from the mailbox. The mailbox where Trone still gets mail more than four years after he claimed to have moved out of the house. All committed by a cabal of conspirators tasked by unknown forces with wrecking his political career.
The other thing Trone needs you to believe is that he really does reside in Pasadena's Council District 3. And he does this by living in a one bedroom apartment located over the top of his "Unyque Financial Bail Bonds" shop, and has done so since 2009. A lifestyle that certainly seems rather Spartan given Trone's relatively well-to-do entrepreneur and business owner status. Why would someone live in such relatively hand-to-mouth conditions when he owns a perfectly nice house in Altadena? Or could easily afford to live in better surroundings?
Here is the argument at the heart of Andre' Coleman's attempt to defend Ishmael Trone:
On Monday morning, the Weekly visited Trone’s apartment at 83 E. Orange Grove Blvd., the address in question, to check on his residency.
Trone lives in a spacious one-bedroom apartment above Unyque Financial, the bail bonds business started by his mother, Madelyn, and stepfather Felix and now owned by Trone.
During the visit, the 52-year-old candidate showed utility bills dating back several months that were addressed to him at the apartment, not the business. The address and name on those bills correspond with bills dating back to 2009, which Trone provided to the Weekly in a Jan. 9 candidate interview. A cursory inspection of the property found clothing hanging in the apartment’s closets.
Trone owns the bail bond shop on the first floor, and he also owns the "spacious" upstairs apartment he purportedly has been living in since 2009. Why? Because he owns the entire building. Doesn't it make sense that if the bills for such things as water and electricity for Unyque Financial Bail Bonds are going to this building, the bills for the living quarters upstairs would also go to the same building? Landlords often receive the bills for apartments they own under their own name. Anyone could be living in that apartment and the bills would still go to the apartment's owner, Ishmael Trone.
In the article a conspiracy-burdened Coleman goes on to again blame Trone's opponent for the District 3 seat, John P. Kennedy. He also blames retiring Board of Education member Ramon Miramontes, and darkly implies that both might have been in on the mail sting. He also fingers Jan B. Tucker, the private investigator that first published the news of Trone's residency issues on his blog, The Detective's Diary (click here). Yet Coleman provides us with absolutely no actual proof of any real connections to any of the people he names.
The word we have received here at The Tattler is that Andre' Coleman and now Assemblyman Chris Holden have been closely in touch ever since the Ishmael Trone residency controversy broke. Holden, heir to the Holden political machine founded by his father Nate Holden, has personally selected Trone to take his place on the Pasadena City Council. My assumption would have to be that Coleman's column this week is little more than spin he created along with Holden, and done in hopes of somehow turning the tide against what has become quite a story in Pasadena political circles.
And honestly, couldn't Ishmael Trone have just shown us his driver's license? Rather than having folks over to the apartment above his business to show them his bills? What does the Department of Motor Vehicles say? Do they show an address change in 2009?
The District Attorney's Public Integrity Division is looking into this matter. It is a serious crime in California to run for office in a district that you do not live in. If what we have read in Coleman's column this week is Trone's defense, then it does look like he very well could be in a lot of trouble.
Jan B. Tucker Responds to Andre' Coleman
Here is Jan Tucker's response to the rash of accusations in Andre' Coleman's opinion piece this week:
Andre--regarding yesterday's article on Trone,
1. I have never met John Kennedy, never spoken to him, and never corresponded with him in any way shape or form. Nor have I been asked to endorse or support him nor have I offered to endorse or support him. I am not the average private investigator in that I get asked to endorse and /or support people all the time. Last Saturday, I personally chaired a committee that interviewed Jan Perry, Eric Garcetti, Wendy Greuel, and Kevin James and candidates for other LA city positions who are seeking organizational support from groups I'm involved with as well as my personal endorsement. So, it is not correct to describe me as a supporter of John Kennedy.
2. I posted digital photos of mail and of two locations. If anybody had bothered to check, there is EXIF metadata in the location photos' digital files and none attached to the mail files. I am affirmatively averring that I did nothing to intentionally alter or delete any of the metadata in the location digital files. The EXIF data contained in the location digital files happens to contain evidence that I did not take the photos.
3. As to the digital photos of the mail, I did not take them or scan the mail and have never had the originals in my possession. Had I taken photos or scanned the mail, they would have had EXIF data attached to them in the digital files. Based upon these facts, Trone's allegations are incompetent and demonstrate the lack of knowledge of even basic computer forensics of himself and his advisers, unless of course he is simply spin doctoring what he knows and conveniently omitting relevant information about this matter.
We will continue to closely follow this story.