LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge ruled Thursday that a man allegedly carjacked in Big Bear by Christopher Dorner — and now seeking $1 million in reward money — will have to bolster his claim against the city of Los Angeles.
Richard Heltebrake — a camp ranger — maintains he deserves reward money because his 911 call helped alert authorities to Dorner’s whereabouts.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Allen White said she was not convinced by Heltebrake’s argument that his acting in response to a reward offer constituted a contract with the city.
Lawyers for the City Attorney argued that the decision on who should receive reward money was actually up to the City Council.
In early February, Dorner promised to go to war with LAPD officers and their families for what he alleged was a wrongful termination. He went on a nearly week-long rampage; killing four people, including two law enforcement officers. He was shot to death on Feb. 12.
Three retired judges appointed to determine who deserved the reward money announced in May that four people other than Heltebrake would receive a share for helping law enforcement officers find Dorner.
The judges found that 80 percent of the money would go to a couple who were bound and gagged by Dorner in their Big Bear cabin. A ski resort employee was awarded 15 percent and a tow truck driver 5 percent.
Heltebrake’s lawyer, Sivi Pederson, said the city is arguing on the one hand that it had no contract with Heltebrake, yet had an obligation to the other four claimants.
“It seems we’re dealing with a two-sided coin here,” she said.
In his suit filed April 28, Heltebrake also named the city and county of Riverside and the city of Irvine.