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LA sheriff's captain under investigation over golf lesson

By Paul Vercammen, CNN
updated 10:26 AM EDT, Fri April 6, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Alleged lessons from a convicted jewel thief lead to an investigation
  • A sheriff's deputy says he has been threatened for blowing the whistle on the golf outing
  • Sheriff Lee Baca "did not condone any golf outing," his spokesman says

Los Angeles (CNN) -- A Los Angeles County sheriff's captain is under investigation, suspected of springing a prisoner from jail to get free tips on his golf swing.

The lessons from Frank Carrillo, a convicted jewel thief with a reputation as an expert golfer, allegedly took place on a course on Catalina Island, where Carrillo was serving a sentence on charges of theft, including stealing during a golf match a World Series ring that belonged to former Dodgers catcher Jimmy Campanis and a Rolex watch.

Acccording to a claim from sheriff's deputy William R. Cordero, Capt. Jeff Donahue "illegally transported (inmate Frank) Carrillo to a local golf course where he was given golf lessons by Carrillo."

The claim says that the captain had "Carrillo's prison yellow jumpsuit and wristband removed ... then had Carrillo outfitted in civilian golf clothes including a polo shirt and Docker pants."

In his claim against the County of Los Angeles, Cordero alleges he has been threatened, harassed, transferred and not promoted because he blew the whistle on the golf outing.

The claim says Donahue told Cordero that L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca cleared the golfing excursion.

"Sheriff Baca did not condone any golf outing and would not ever," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told CNN. "We take this very seriously. This is something we have been aware of and we are conducting an internal investigation to find out what exactly did or did not happen."

Donahue, who is part of the sheriff's force at Avalon that polices California's Catalina Island, is on medical leave. He did not immediately return a call to the station seeking comment.

Documents show Carrillo was convicted in December of 2010 of three counts of grand theft, receiving stolen property and two counts of burglary.

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