News Briefs


Preliminary setting for city employee postponed, again

The Jan. 7 preliminary setting for a fatal accident allegedly involving a City of Malibu employee has been continued to Feb. 11 at Malibu Courthouse, the District Attorney?s office confirmed Monday.

City Records Clerk Robert Sanchez has been named as a suspect in the June 2009 bicycle accident that left one man dead and his son with several broken bones. At the preliminary setting, a preliminary hearing date will be scheduled.

A truck allegedly driven by Sanchez struck 45-year-old Rodrigo Armas and his 14-year-old son while they were cycling east along Pacific Coast Highway, June 28. Armas died at the scene of the accident, while his son suffered extensive leg injuries.

Sanchez reportedly left the scene of the accident, abandoned his vehicle and hid in nearby brush before Sheriff?s deputies arrested him two hours later. Sanchez faces possible charges of felony vehicular manslaughter, hit and run, and driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

High surf advisory issued for coast

The National Weather Service on Tuesday issued a high-surf advisory, warning beachgoers to stay out of the water in anticipation of dangerous surf on local beaches. The warning was issued beginning Tuesday evening and remains in effect until 9 a.m. Friday.

A very large west swell combined with high tides during the week was the reason for the warning, according to the National Weather Service.

Waves are expected to reach 8 to 12 feet at Los Angeles and Ventura county beaches and as high as 17 feet on exposed, west-facing beaches. Dangerous rip currents are predicted on all beaches through Friday.

?Even the most experienced swimmers should stay out of the water during this event,? the National Weather Service stated.

The National Weather Service has also issued a coastal flood watch for Wednesday and Thursday this week.

?Very high seas will create dangerous surf and the possibility of coastal flooding of low lying areas Wednesday and Thursday,? the National Weather Service stated in its warning.

Volunteers scour Malibu Canyon in ongoing search for Mitrice Richardson

The Los Angeles County Sheriff?s Department and more than 300 volunteers on foot, horseback and all-terrain vehicles on Saturday searched the Malibu Canyon area for signs of Mitrice Richardson, who has been missing for almost four months.

Sheriff?s officials in a Jan. 9 Los Angeles Times report described the search as ?among the largest ever conducted by the department, taking in an 18-square-mile area of ridges, canyons and trails.? Trained in search and rescue tactics, the volunteers scoured mountain areas east and west of Malibu Canyon and north to Mulholland Highway. The search also included a team of divers who searched a dam pool in the area, and a Sikorsky helicopter that picked up searchers to ferry them to remote areas.

This is the fourth search for Richardson, who was arrested Sept. 16 by Sheriff?s deputies of the Malibu/Lost Hills Station for not paying her $89 dinner bill at Geoffrey?s restaurant in Malibu and for possession of marijuana in her car. She went missing after she was released at 12:35 a.m., Sept. 17, without a purse, identification or means of transportation.

After Los Angeles police detectives learned that Richardson was probably suffering from a severe mental disorder at the time of her Sept. 17 disappearance, they requested Saturday?s renewed search effort.

The Malibu / Lost Hills Sheriff?s Station has come under fire for releasing the 24-year-old in the middle of the night under such circumstances, but Sheriff?s Capt. Tom Martin has said in past interviews that Richardson was allowed to make a phone call to family members and a jailer had tried to convince the young woman to stay the night, or at least until someone could pick her up. However, he said that Richardson did not appear to be disoriented, declined the offer and, according to protocol, Martin said, they could not force her to stay at the station.

Redmond O?Neal jailed on probation violation

Redmond O?Neal, son of the late actress Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O?Neal, has been sent to jail in Los Angeles for violating the terms of his probation, according to a Jan. 6 report by BBC News.

In September, a judge ordered O?Neal, 24, to go into rehab for at least a year after he admitted possessing heroin while on bail for another drug charge.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles District Attorney?s office said O?Neal would remain in jail until his next court appearance on Feb. 2.

Back in September, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge suspended a six-year prison sentence for O?Neal, ordering him into residential care for drug rehabilitation.

He had been in custody since his April arrest for bringing drugs into a jail north of Los Angeles.

O?Neal was in jail for Fawcett?s final days. She died of cancer June 26. He was then released for a few hours to attend her funeral.

California fund manager sentenced in fraud scheme

The founder and manager of two Beverly Hills hedge funds has been sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison for cheating investors out of more than $25 million, according to a Jan. 11 report by the Associated Press.

Bradley Ruderman was sentenced Monday in a Los Angeles federal courtroom and was ordered to pay $27.5 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty in August to two counts of wire fraud, two counts of investment adviser fraud and a misdemeanor count of failing to file income taxes in 2007, the report states.

Prosecutors say the 46-year-old Ruderman admitted to bilking investors, many of them family members, out of millions of dollars by promising annual returns as high as 60 percent and sending fake account statements between 2003 and 2009.

An FBI investigation found Ruderman spent at least $8.7 million of invested money on personal expenses, like a summer rental in Malibu, two Porsches and poker games.

MOCA announces new museum director

Following a worldwide search, the Board of Trustees of The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA) on Monday unanimously appointed Jeffrey Deitch as the museum?s new director, effective June 1.

Deitch, 57, is one of New York?s leading gallerists, specializing in modern and contemporary art, and he has a 30-year career as an independent curator who has produced innovative exhibitions at museums and galleries around the world. A longtime art writer and critic, Deitch is also known for his innovations in catalogue design.

Among his notable exhibitions are Yoko Ono?s ?Ex It,? Keith Haring?s ?Ten Commandments,? and ?Street Market? with Barry McGee, Todd James, and Stephen Powers.

Deitch pioneered the banking world?s art advisory businesses, co-founding Citibank?s art advisory and art finance practices in 1979. His connections to MOCA date back to his work at Citibank, which was the lead contributor to The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (formerly The Temporary Contemporary) when it opened in 1983.

Before joining Citibank, Deitch was the assistant director of the John Weber Gallery in New York and the curator of the De Cordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Mass.

Deitch has a bachelor?s degree in art history from Wesleyan University and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

By Olivia Damavandi