The co-author of Shut Up, Fag!, that seminal book detailing some of Robert K. Dornan's more bombastic utterances, went to the Newport Beach Police Department on April 16 to report that he had essentially been battered by the former congressman.
Mike Kaspar, a political consultant who works for Mike Farber, a Democrat and former Dornan opponent, was getting ready for a bike ride on April 13 when Dornan walked onto Kaspar's property, confronted him and became verbally abusive, according to the complaint Kaspar filed with the Newport Beach police. Actually, Dornan wasn't walking but limping, having recently undergone knee surgery, according to published accounts.
In 1994 under the pseudonym William Payton, Kaspar co-wrote Shut Up, Fag! and had recently filed a Federal Elections Commission complaint stating that Dornan was campaigning for the office he lost to Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Garden Grove) last November and, in essence, receiving campaign contributions in the form of airtime on the radio shows he's been co-hosting.
Dornan began yelling at Kaspar, 44, about the book and its negative effect on the ex-congressman and his family, the complaint said. “The victim [Kaspar] said that the suspect [Dornan] called him a wimp and told him 'even though I'm 63, I could take you on,'” the report said.
Dornan then stepped forward, knocked Kaspar's baseball cap off his head and “angled his body toward the victim in a fighting stance and waited several seconds for the victim to respond,” the report said.
In a telephone interview, Kaspar said that before any physical confrontation could ensue, Dornan's wife, Sallie, honked a horn in a Bronco parked across the street. “I can only surmise that she of all people knows when Bob Dornan is going to hit somebody,” Kaspar said, referring to past spousal-abuse charges Sallie brought–and eventually dropped–against her husband. “The horn was telling him to cool it.”
Kaspar told Dornan he had not written anything about the politician that could not be substantiated through public record, that Dornan's actions were not “socially acceptable,” and that Dornan had gotten away with his “offensive behavior” for too long, the police report said.
“[Kaspar] stated that [Dornan] then told him that he was 'going after' subject Mike Farber, [Kaspar's] boss. The suspect claimed to have sat out in front of Farber's house personally to write down his vehicle's license-plate numbers. [Dornan] then said he was going to 'ruin [Farber].' The victim then said that the suspect told him to distance himself from Farber and to 'watch his assets.' [Kaspar] stated that the syllables were accentuated, in the word 'asset,' for double-entendre,” the report said.
Ironically, the encounter ended with the previously hot-headed redhead waving good-bye as the Bronco drove off, horn honking, Kaspar told the Weekly.
Three days after the incident, Kaspar filed the report at the Police Department, alleging misdemeanor battery against Dornan. “The victim was adamant that a report be taken and that the subject be investigated,” the report said. “[Kaspar] feels that [Dornan] is very volatile due to his losing his position in Congress, and [Kaspar] is concerned for his safety and for the safety of Farber and his family.”
Because the alleged crime would be a misdemeanor and did not occur in the presence of officers, it would have been up to Kaspar to place Dornan under citizen's arrest and detain him until officers arrived if he wanted the ex-congressman formally arrested, Newport Beach police sergeant John Desmond told the Weekly.
Desmond said detectives were trying to locate witnesses, but Kaspar told the Weekly that a neighbor witnessed the incident. Once the investigation is completed, the matter will be turned over to District Attorney Mike Capizzi's office; it is up to them to determine Dornan is to be charged with anything, Desmond said.
According to Michael Schroeder, Dornan's personal attorney, the former congressman is not talking with reporters so he can focus all his energies on the congressional hearing involving voter fraud in the race Sanchez won. However, Schroeder did say he was familiar with the driveway encounter and, when told Kaspar's side of the story, the attorney replied, “It's all a lie; none of that occurred.”
According to Schroeder, Kaspar left a message before the meeting saying he wanted to talk with Dornan. That was news to Kaspar. “I offer $50,000 to Bob Dornan or anyone else who can produce a phone message of me inviting Dornan to get together for any reason,” Kaspar said. “Bob Dornan is a liar.”
Dornan isn't the liar, said Schroeder, who asserted that, during their rendezvous, Dornan did not touch Kaspar or his cap, nor did they nearly come to blows. Schroeder characterized the entire event as a “setup” intended to discredit Dornan before the congressional hearing.
No one from the Newport Beach Police Department has contacted Dornan or his attorney about the incident, Schroeder said.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.