It was a juicy story with allegations that city officials were strip-club regulars who allegedly told people they were sworn law enforcement officers. Except the story might not be true, according to the Daily Breeze.
The paper reports that ex-Hawthorne city manager Jag Pathirana says the allegations are part of a "witch hunt" against him and that he never claimed to be a cop when visiting the Wild Goose strip club in the unincorporated L.A. County community of Del Aire.
Sandy Mazza's report in the Breeze states that the city manager who replaced Pathirana, Jim Mitsch, hired an investigator who appears to be unlicensed to look into allegations that Pathirana got into a drunken altercation with a stripper at the venue last year and claimed at the time to be a Hawthorne cop.
The investigator was hired on the taxpayer dime and, it appears, some off his allegations were leaked to Fox 11 News, which aired a report late last month implying that Pathirana and former Hawthorne finance director Louis Escobar were Wild Goose regulars who allegedly claimed to be cops.
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A sheriff's spokesman says Pathirana did not claim to deputies responding to last year's stripper incident that he was a lawman.
The Fox 11 report also appears to imply that Pathirana and Escobar were "fired" following the Wild Goose allegations. But the Breeze reports that they appeared simply to be political pawns -- pushed out following an election that empowered a new regime.
Pathirana says the allegations have hurt his career:
"At this point, I consider myself to be untouchable. I would not hire me until this thing is cleared up."