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190111. John Taylor, Lord of P.I. Lore.

This page discusses my experience with P.I. John L. Taylor of Solvang, CA.

I didn't be­lieve, as an adult, in Santa Claus. But I had difficulty un­der­stand­ing that some normals lied pretty much every time that they opened their mouths.

I'm still naive. But the rest of it has changed.

On Friday, Jan­uary 11, 2019, I dis­play­ed my naivetĂ© again. The back-story is fun. I've told it dif­fer­ent ways be­fore. We'll go with matter of fact today.

This post discusses a P.I. named John Taylor in the San Luis Obispo, CA area whose bus­i­ness model, I feel, is based in part on fraud.

This is the John Taylor, P.I., who uses, or has used, the fol­low­ing website:


The web­site, and John's Web presence in general, are oddly threadbare considering that he's supposedly been in bus­i­ness for 35 years.

A closer look at what John has been up to over the years might be productive.

This is probably the John Leonard Taylor who used to be as­soc­i­a­ted with addresses on Carlo Drive, Goleta, CA and mul­ti­ple streets in Solvang, CA.

The identification of the middle name is preliminary and unconfirmed.

If it's the same John L. Taylor, P.I., eager to meet your Santa Barbara, CA research needs, it ap­pears that he's a Junior. He's named, if the “L” is for “Leonard”, after a father or uncle born circa 1914.

Siblings, cousins, and/or uncles and aunts for John L. Taylor, Jr., seem to include Roberta, Beverly, Derek, and Janie.

If it's the same John Taylor, P.I., Solvang, CA area, perhaps these peo­ple will be able to explain how the enjoyment that John feels when he commits prosecutables crimes originated.

If it's not the same John, well, one step at a time.

DOB for the John L. Taylor in ques­tion is March 08, 1942, but this could easily be some­body else.

A company named Bomar, S.I., asserts that the PDF linked be­low provides license in­forma­tion for John Taylor. I haven't at­tempt­ed to confirm this yet.


John Taylor has been a P.I. for a long time. His State of Cal­i­for­nia P.I. license num­ber is said to be 11313.

John Taylor, P.I., has no compunction, it ap­pears, re­la­ted to stealing thousands of dollars from hapless clients. As a note to John's peers in the profession and to attorneys, read the correspondence from John quoted be­low before you elect to com­ment.

Remarks to the effect that John Taylor's letters are pro­tect­ed in any way by intellectual property or other laws will be mocked.

One take-away is that most P.I.s who work on cases for indi­vid­uals, and who aren't retired police officers, will lie to you and try to cheat you.

I've dealt with enough P.I.s to have a solid basis for the assertion.

There are, to be clear, good P.I.s and I hope to continue to find them. They're use­ful.

Retired police officers seem more trustworthy than average, but I think that most of them prefer pro-forma work such as pro­cess service to any­thing out of the ordinary.

P.I.s who are willing to go beyond pro-forma work assume, in some cases, that their clients are blinded by anger or greed and try to take advantage of the emotions.

If you don't keep an eye out, some of them will take you for all that you've got. The same thing is true of attorneys, but that's a subject for another time.

In most cases, P.I.s don't actu­al­ly have “sources”. That's for TV shows. Instead, they buy stand­ard data-broker reports and resell them.

Fair enough. But the profit margin isn't that high. The real money is in field work. And the easiest type of field work is surveil­lance.

Surveillance is profitable enough. But it becomes even more profitable if a P.I. mixes in a bit of fraud. It's a constant temptation to the lower-tier types.

Unambiguous fraud is one approach. A P.I. can go somewhere, take a photo to prove that they were there, leave, and claim that they spent hours on the job.

How is a client going to prove otherwise unless he or she hires a 2nd P.I. to conduct surveil­lance on the 1st one?

But the most common case is more subtle.

Some P.I.s press clients to approve surveil­lance when it's not essential or even rele­vant.

The P.I.s might actu­al­ly go. It's easy money. It's not as though the work is dif­fi­cult or, in most cases, dan­ger­ous. The P.I.s collect from $75 to $150 per hour — up to $1,200 per day — just to sit and wait for some­body who might not even show up.

This is fair if P.I.s are honest. But P.I.s, or some of them, turn surveil­lance into a racket. Here's a favorite quote that's applicable:

It is no Sin to sell dear, but [it is] a Sin to give ill Measure.
— James Kelly, 1721

I'll name a P.I. firm later this year that I feel might see surveil­lance fraud as one of the pillars of its bus­i­ness model.

A week be­fore Christmas 2016, I talked to John Taylor, P.I., about a pos­si­ble job for him.

The job was to confirm, for le­gi­ti­mate and reason­able purposes that were pro­tect­ed under U.S. laws, that my parents Jim and Grace Kiraly were physically resident in a house located on Twinberry Circle in Avila Beach, CA.

Technical note: Jim and Grace turned out to be resident in that house, but they relocated to Solvang, CA at the end of 2018. To down­load a re­la­ted PDF, click on the fol­low­ing link:


My correspondence with John Taylor, P.I. was mundane at first. Here's one of John's initial letters. Note: John's misspellings are preserved in this let­ter and in other letters be­low.

Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2016 14:43:08
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: 038-20-8134 — JAMES FRANCIS KIRALY

See attached profile on James Kiraly. Keep in mind that this type of report are [sic] not always accurate or up to date. I ran the two property profiles and the Avila Beach address and the owner is list­ed as “Kiraly Family Trust”.

The Newport Beach profile shows David L. New as the owner since 2004. I did an occupancy search on the Newport Beach address and James Kiraly shows being there from Dec. 2015 to July 2016.

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

As you have indicated the only way to confirm who is where is a knock and talk at the addresses. I sug­gest getting some vehicle license plate num­bers from any vehicles in the drive to see who they are registered to. There always the chance cars are in the garage.

I don't see his brother Tom list­ed on Possible Relatives on the profile.

(Note from OldCoder: The preceding paragraph was based on a misunderstanding on John Taylor's part. Tom Kiraly was my brother and Jim Kiraly's son, not Jim Kiraly's brother.)

No charge for this little bit of in­forma­tion. Let me know if further is need­ed.

John Taylor

John Taylor, P.I., and I exchanged a few more letters. Then John sent me the fol­low­ing. In this let­ter, John introduces a new character, an “old law enforcement buddy”.

Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2016 08:13:12
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: Avila

Quick fol­low up. I have an operative in Avila Beach, old law enforcement buddy, who took a couple of drive by checks of the address. No vehicles in the drive or on the street in front of the res­i­dence. Nicely kept gated com­mun­i­ty. Vehicles of course could have been in the garage.

John Taylor

It's interesting that the “operative” was able to do not just one, but two, drive-by checks. John sug­gest­ed subsequently that entry into the complex was so dif­fi­cult that surveil­lance was the only pos­si­ble way to proceed. This, despite the fact the “operative” could appar­ent­ly get into the complex whenever he wished to do so.

I responded as fol­lows. Logistic paragraphs are omitted for the sake of brevity.

Date: Mon, 19 Dec 2016 11:37:12
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Avila Beach proposal

John, thanks for this as well.

May I hire you and the Avila Beach operative to proceed as described in my Dec. 17 4:11pm letter? This was my let­ter responding to your initial report.

He'd make two attempts to show the photo I sent you to peo­ple in the res­i­dence, then visit perhaps 4 neighbors after the second attempt to show the photo to them. With luck, at least 1 neighbor would be home.

Regards, Robert

John Taylor, P.I. has cool informants

John Taylor, P.I., and I dis­cus­sed possible approaches to the work. On Decem­ber 28, John sent me the formal proposal in­clud­ed below.

In this proposal, John adds another character to the story, an “inside reliable and confidential contact”.

The “operative” men­tion­ed here is John Taylor's “old law enforcement buddy”; i.e., a retired police officer or the like.

The “contact” is some­body who is eager to spill secrets to the police officer. Like Huggy Bear on “Baretta” or dozens of other supporting characters. Such excitement. It's just like on TV! :P

Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:02:25
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: RE: Quote for job

We have no prob­lem taking on this assignment. I'm not sure I agree with neighbor contacts in this small gated com­mun­i­ty. It only takes one neighbor who is friendly to your parents who would call them when an enquiry is made.

John Taylor, P.I. lies to his clients

My operative is very familiar with this complex and any door to door contacts are reported and he could be banned from further entry. His inside reliable and confidential contact lives across the street from your parents and has con­firm­ed they live there.

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

I would sug­gest the following:

1) We do a DMV vehicle own­er­ship search to obtain description and Lic. Number of target's vehicle/s.

2) Conduct surveil­lance on the out­side perimeter of the complex to observe the targets leaving. Attempt photos when they reach a destination if pos­si­ble.

3) Once confirmation is made we can serve doc­u­ments. Surveillance effort should start early morning in hopes they go someplace. Or if you know of any routine or habits that have. Church, dinners out, etc.

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

As I quoted prior the hourly rate is $ 85.00 plus .50 cents a mile and minimal data expense. We generally request a retainer to start this type of investigation. I leave the amount up to you knowing the cost of the effort in­volved.

It could be a 10 or 15 hour effort depending on movement from the res­i­dence. We keep a log of time and expense. Any unused funds are return­ed.

Your thoughts?


Um. If John had an “inside reliable and confidential contact”, why did we need to do any­thing but talk to that person?

I responded to John's proposal as fol­lows. This is just the rele­vant part.

Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2016 11:48:44
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Re: Quote for job

If the “inside reliable contact” *has* seen my parents recently, would your operative be willing to visit just them [the contact] as opposed to the neighbors and confirm that they [Jim and Grace] are present?

Alternatively, would he be willing to negotiate with the “inside reliable contact” for what­ever information that per­son can provide? I'd be willing to add fixed-rate pay­ments for rele­vant information in add­i­tion to hourly.

I added the fol­low­ing P.S.:

Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2016 23:54:17
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Updated proposal

Does this updated proposal work for you? Note: Everything will be paid for in advance.

* I'll pay to cover three peo­ple — You, your Avila Beach asso­ci­ate, and his “inside contact”. If we proceed, your time for this setup stage will be covered.

* The “inside contact” will pro­vide a let­ter discussing what he or she knows about my parents' location and activities.

OldCoder continues:

Identification of church would be helpful. That's the primary place where they [Jim and Grace Kiraly] can be found and served that isn't behind a locked door. Price for the let­ter is open to negotiation.

I'd like, and I'll pay for, any in­forma­tion that isn't legal­ly confidential and that may be use­ful in lit­i­ga­tion. One example, in add­i­tion to identification of church, would be OCD be­ha­vior by my father, which he's known to exhibit in front of neighbors.

My assumption is that the “inside contact” doesn't have a fiduciary rela­tion­ship with my parents, e.g., isn't their therapist, and can there­fore talk freely.

OldCoder continues:

* Your asso­ci­ate will be paid to communicate with the “inside contact”, to photo­graph any vehicles, and pos­si­bly to visit my parents and confirm their presence.

If you need a specific rea­son for the visit, I could write a minor but formal let­ter to be hand-delivered to my parents. This might be use­ful, actu­al­ly, as le­gi­ti­mate and reason­able misdirection.

* Surveillance for one specific pur­pose may be done as well. This part is to be dis­cus­sed after we see what the “inside contact” has to say.

Regards, Robert (the Old Coder)

This is where it gets interesting. John Taylor responded as fol­lows. Note that he com­plete­ly disregards the points about his “inside reliable contact”.

John jumps right back to the surveil­lance part here despite the fact that, if he has an “inside reliable contact”, surveil­lance is pointless and unnecessary.

Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2016 11:16:00
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: None

I have re­ceived all your email. Here is my proposal: We set up no more than 10 Hours of investigation time to attempt to identify and serve your parents at the Avila Beach address.

We will attempt photographs if pos­si­ble before dur­ing or after observation.

John Taylor, P.I. lies to his clients

You will receive a writ­ten report from me at the conclusion of the investigation including in­forma­tion from my confidential inside informants.

(Note from OldCoder: Note that John Taylor uses the plural “informants” here. He's expanded the num­ber of non-existent inside contacts from one to at least two.)

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

From what I under­stand of your request is to locate and serve your parents either with legal papers or other writ­ten correspondents or both.

We keep it pretty sim­ple in this bus­i­ness. It ap­pears to me to be straight for­ward assignment. It ap­pears their vehicle/s are most like­ly parked in the garage so we won't see them in the drive.

(Note from OldCoder: By “pretty simple” here, John Taylor means that it would be “pretty simple” to hit me up for $1,000.00 worth of surveil­lance without bothering to ask his “confidential inside informants” first if they'd seen my father.)

I can request a legal report from DMV for vehicles owned by the occupants of the house.

We set up surveil­lance at the entrance of the complex and wait for them to leave. They can be served when they reach their destination or upon returning to the house. We will attempt to photo­graph the event if pos­si­ble.

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

The fol­low­ing straight for­ward questions may be helpful:

1) Do they attend church? if so, what denomination?
2) Do they have pets, dog or cat?
3) Do they both drive?
4) Are they morning people?
5) Do they go for walks or other exercise?
6) Any known daily habits?
7) Any medical conditions, use of cane, walkers, etc.?
8) (John seems to have in­clud­ed nothing on this line)

Flat rate for this effort will be $ 1,000.00 to include time and millage [sic] and any data work.

(Note from OldCoder: John spelled “mileage” here as “millage”. It seems like an odd typo for an experienced P.I. who writes up a lot of mileage.)

John Taylor

O.K., I'm slow, but I'm not downright stupid :P

At this point, it was clear that John Taylor, P.I., San Luis Obispo area, was lying through his teeth. But I gave him a chance to straight­en things out.

Date: Thu, 29 Dec 2016 13:26:24
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Inside contact

John, the fol­low­ing is worded dir­ect­ly, but it's intended to be friendly. If we can't come to terms, I'd still like to look at hiring you for other types of research.

Your asso­ci­ate states that he has an “inside reliable and confidential contact [who] lives across the street from your parents and has con­firm­ed they live there”.

“Pretty sim­ple in this business” is fine, but there is nothing com­pli­ca­ted about a proposal to obtain in­forma­tion from the “inside contact” who your asso­ci­ate states exists, knows my parents, and has commented regarding them.

Why in the world would I agree to pay for surveil­lance that might produce nothing be­fore I hear what an “inside reliable and confidential contact” with definite in­forma­tion has to say?

OldCoder continues:

You haven't even acknowledged that the “inside contact” should be asked if he or she has seen my parents recently as opposed to months ago. Isn't this an obvious step?

(Note from OldCoder: There was no “inside contact” who lived “across the street” from my father. John Taylor is be­lieved to have com­mit­ted prosecutable fraud.)

My proposal is the one that was sent at about midnight last night. If you'll work out a quote that you feel is fair, you'll receive pay­ment in advance for a job that is “pretty simple”.

I'll also, most like­ly, pay for surveil­lance as well. But surveil­lance will be *after* I read what the “inside contact” has to say.

Otherwise, that's fine, and I hope to dis­cuss other types of work.

Regards, Robert (the Old Coder)

John Taylor, P.I., responded as follows:

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2016 08:50:50
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: Search

I will advise when my inside source has a visual on the subjects or any posi­tive proof they are there.


At this point, I repeated previous offers to give John Taylor, P.I., piles of cash in exchange for nothing but evi­dence that he wasn't a liar and a fraud.

Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2016 11:39:00
From: Robert Kiraly
To: John Taylor
Subject: Offer of retainer

John, you don't need to invest any more time or effort for free. I'm offering to pro­vide a retainer. We only need to agree on steps.

I'm assuming that your asso­ci­ate is trustworthy. He's a retired LEO or some­thing similar, right? Most are by-the-book types.

So, the inside source presumably exists and is willing to talk. Do you doubt this, yourself?

OldCoder continues:

I'm offering to pay you, your asso­ci­ate, and the inside source for a let­ter from the inside source. I'd send some ques­tions, the source would answer to the extent pos­si­ble, and you and I would dis­cuss surveillance.

(Note from OldCoder: If the “inside source” existed, why was John Taylor so reluctant even to acknowledge points of this type? He just kept dodging them.)

Unless any of the three of you has a fiduciary rela­tion­ship that creates a conflict of inter­est, I don't see a rea­son not to proceed.

It's up to you. Feel free to point out any­thing I've overlooked.

Regards, Robert (the Old Coder)

John Taylor's next to last let­ter is pasted be­low.

Other P.I.s, including former police officers, have laughed at the part about how John needs to buy his police officer friend a dinner so that the police officer's feelings won't be hurt. :)

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2017 09:15:42
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: RE: New Year and next steps

The rela­tion­ship between a client and an investigator is kind of like a marriage. If there is no trust there is no rela­tion­ship.

Your strong indication that I fabricated in­forma­tion to induce you to pay me is very insult­ing to say the least. The normal pro­ce­dure for most investigators is get­ting a retainer up front be­fore any time or effort is put into the investigation.

(Note from OldCoder: I made mul­ti­ple offers to pay John Taylor for his time. Even after I realized that he was trying to cheat me out of $1,000.00.)

John Taylor, P.I., continues:

John Taylor, P.I. lies to his clients

I broke my own rule by do­ing some initial research and putting manpower into your case. I will take that lose [sic] and take my Avila Beach operative to dinner for his time and effort.

(Note from OldCoder: John's “initial research” was a stand­ard data-broker report I'd seen be­fore and that he most like­ly got for free as part of a subscription.)

(John Taylor also, most like­ly, invented a fictitious police officer who'd gone to Avila Beach on my behalf. If the police officer did exist, there was no Huggy Bear informant waiting impatiently to feed him facts about my parents. I doubt that dinner was an issue.)

With that said, I'm terminating any further effort in your cause. No need to respond to this email.

John Taylor

I wrote back and told John Taylor, P.I., that I'd be discussing the fraud which he'd committed online with others. John responded as follows:

Date: Tue, 03 Jan 2017 11:04:14
From: John Taylor
To: Robert Kiraly
Subject: RE: Blog review and PI license

I have re­ceived your email and forwarded it to my attorney for review. Sorry our rela­tion­ship didn't work out.


Two years later, I'm still waiting to hear from the “attorney”. It's regrettable. In such cases, I find attorneys to be a crunchy part of a nutritious breakfast.

These days, God, I love it when attorneys cross the line.

You can't touch the straight and narrow type. Harmeet Dhillon, I'm talking to you. The bottom of the barrel type... oh, that's mighty fine eatin'.

On Jan­uary 11, 2019, I was refer­red to a P.I. who supposedly lived near Solvang, CA. The city that Jim and Grace Kiraly were sup­posed to have moved to a month be­fore.

The P.I.'s name was John Taylor. But his phone num­ber was 805-896-1613. The orig­in­al John Taylor's phone num­ber was 805-964-2089. So, it was probably a dif­fer­ent John Taylor, right?

OldCoder <- idiot at times :)

I need­ed to get the scoop on whether or not Jim and Grace were still located in Solvang. So, I called the 2nd John Taylor.

The 2nd John Taylor was polite, but he seemed oddly nervous.

The issue wasn't that non-pro forma work was off-putting. We didn't get far enough into the dis­cus­sion for that to be the case.

The 2nd John Taylor indicated that he didn't wish to take on a new research job. His statements were garbled due to agitation.

I asked him if I'd offended him somehow. I think that he said “No”, but I'm not sure.

The 2nd John Taylor hung up abrupt­ly. I was puzzled. I spe­cu­la­ted that perhaps Jim and Grace had been call­ing P.I.s in the area and asking them not to work for me.

Then the possibility that I'd been a fool occurred to me. It can be a use­ful realization.

I looked closer and found that both phone num­bers, 805-896-1613 and 805-964-2089, had been as­soc­i­a­ted, at dif­fer­ent times, with a John L. Taylor, P.I.

I can be­lieve in two P.I.s with the same first and last name in the same general area. But the same middle initial as well? Probably not.

Howdy, John L. Taylor. It was pleasant to chat with you, even if I wasn't aware of who I was speaking to.

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John L. Taylor, P.I. in Solvang, CA and San Luis Obispo area
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