Los Angeles Magazine Removes Three Articles Criticizing Former Santa Barbara Police Department Spokesperson

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — In mid-March 2021, Los Angeles Magazine sent shockwaves through the South Coast by publishing an article blaming corruption in Santa Barbara. The article was eventually deleted less than a year after it was published after it was proven to be factually inaccurate.

Guest writer, Mitchell Kriegman, best known for creating the Nickelodeon show “Clarissa Explains Everything”, is the author of the article titled “In Sleepy Santa Barbara, a Town Hall Insider Raises His Eyebrows” . As of Monday, no other articles by Kriegman had appeared on Los Angeles Magazine’s website.

On Friday evening, Los Angeles Magazine sent NewsChannel 3-12 an email advising our newsroom that the stories had been removed.

The email was sent from a generic newsroom email: “This letter is to notify you of the removal of three articles from the Los Angeles Magazine website, www.lamag.com, that you have referenced and/or linked to in your reporting We ask that you remove all links to the three LA Magazine articles referenced below.

The other two articles followed the original article. The first said Santa Barbara police spokesman accused of corruption, Anthony Wagner, had been placed on paid administrative leave. The second said the third-party investigator found no conflict of interest.

In the original article, Kriegman accused Wagner of corruption during the Santa Barbara marijuana license screening process. And give one of the three permits to a company that might have had a connection to Wagner, because both were from San Diego.

As NewsChannel 3-12 reported, Wagner was one of seven members of a selection committee, and the SBPD initiated a third-party investigation that concluded no conflict of interest was found.

NewsChannel 3-12 reported days after the original article, Wagner demanded the article be removed citing inaccuracies. He later sued the magazine for $4.6 million, which would have been his salary and benefits for the rest of his Santa Barbara career.

NewsChannel 3-12 has reached out to Los Angeles Magazine and Wagner, Wagner said he had no comment at this time. And Los Angeles Magazine has yet to respond to phone calls and emails from NewsChannel 3-12.

Wagner released a statement when the article first came out. He wrote in part: “The play misrepresents and misrepresents my background, significant events in my life, and past professional interactions and personal relationships.” And “Despite the fact that I personally provided him with my direct phone number and email address, the author did not contact me for comment prior to submission.”