District Attorney Tony Rackauckas last week charged Newport Beach attorney Redmond Peter McAneny with stealing $117,000 from a widow.

McAneny also serves on the Orange County Assessment Appeals Board, by appointment of the county Board of Supervisors.

He was most recently reappointed in 2009 by former Supervisor and now state Assemblyman Chris Norby to a three-year term.

McAneny couldn’t be reached for comment. And as of now no one seems to know what, if any, effect his arrest will have on his appointed position.

Supervisor Shawn Nelson, who took over Norby’s seat (and its appointees), said he had not been formally notified of McAneny’s arrest. And it is doubtful that anyone received notification, said Rackauckas’ chief of staff, Susan Kang Schroeder.

But Nelson, as soon as he was told of the arrest, said the 55-year-old lawyer should either step down or be removed from office immediately.

“You cannot have an accused felon handling that process,” Nelson said of the tax assessment appeals hearings. Especially when the accusations go to “the heart” of a person’s moral character, Nelson said.

McAneny’s character had been called into question before, in the 1990s when the California State Bar Association filed a disciplinary action against him. But whatever vetting process the Board of Supervisors employed apparently missed that black mark on his record.

Nelson said he would have his staff begin looking into removing McAneny from office. If the accusations turn out to be untrue, Nelson said, he said he could always reappoint McAneny to that or another post.

Nelson now wonders whether such board appointments related to professions — such as attorneys or accountants — should have such basic professional license checks done as part of a formal vetting process.

“You know what, we’re going to moving forward.”


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