L.A. County Sheriff Probes Ryan Kavanaugh Over Reported Helicopter Use

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Ryan Kavanaugh

A Relativity Media spokesperson calls the investigation a "politically motivated vendetta."

A rift between Ryan Kavanaugh and the L.A. County Sheriff's Office has widened. 

Authorities are looking into whether the Relativity Media CEO impeded the hunt for Christopher Dorner by landing his helicopter on the sheriff's helipad, according to a Los Angeles Times report citing law enforcement sources. The LAPD hunted for Dorner in February after the ex-officer began a killing spree.

Sheriff Lee Baca's spokesman Steve Whitmore could not confirm the details of the Kavanaugh investigation to The Hollywood Reporter. However, Whitmore said, "It is ongoing and the criminal investigation is not politically motivated."

A source close to Kavanaugh tells THR that the executive has not been contacted by the sheriff's office about the investigation. Whitmore declined to comment about whether the mogul had been notified about the probe. Kavanaugh and Relativity Media have characterized the investigation as a "vendetta."

"This is another predictably sad and desperate attempt to distract the people of Los Angeles County from an ongoing Department of Justice investigation into the Sheriff's unlawful treatment of minorities," said David Shane, a spokesperson for Kavanaugh and Relativity Media, in a statement. "It's disappointing that the sheriff continues to waste taxpayer resources to pursue his own politically motivated vendetta."

Sheriff Baca is up for reelection in 2014. A Kavanaugh source also describes the probe to THR as "political payback" for the executive's support of Paul Tanaka, formerly the second-in-command at the sheriff's office, and a possible political rival. 

Kavanaugh spokesperson Shane added: "Ryan is currently a volunteer for the sheriff's department and was given permission and approval to land that day from Undersheriff Tanaka."

The Relativity Media executive has been the subject of complaints by neighbors for his helicopter commutes from Malibu to Los Angeles. The friction between the Hollywood mogul and the sheriff's office has been the subject of recent media reports.

Earlier this month, the New York Post reported that Kavanaugh sent the sheriff's office a letter in late June alleging "misconduct" in retaliation for the Relativity Media CEO's apparent support of Tanaka.