Vendor lawyer Hall helps county official buy house

June 2, 2008


A top county official’s Arroyo Grande home was jointly purchased by her and the family trusts of local lawyer Clay Hall, whose firm receives hundreds of thousands of dollars annually as the vendor responsible for the majority of San Luis Obispo County’s outside legal work.

Gail Wilcox, assistant county administrator, owns one-half undivided interest in the house on Blackberry Avenue, according to county property documents. She took a $417,000 mortgage in April 2007 to purchase her fifty percent share of the residence. Clay Hall, his wife Kristy A. Hall, and several of their family trusts own the other half. The total purchase price, according to records, was $580,000.

Wilcox acknowledged the arrangement Monday.

“This is outside of work,” she said, adding that she perceives no conflict of interest. She said she has no direct authority over payments made by the county to Hall’s law firm, Hall, Hieatt & Connely of San Luis Obispo.

Hall also denied a conflict, describing the Wilcox property deal as “making financial sense for my family.”

Hall’s firm has provided no-bid legal work for the county for more than two decades. The county presently has about 32 legal cases placed with outside, private law firms; Hall is handling three-fourths of those, said County Counsel spokesperson Warren Jenson.

A month before the Blackberry Avenue deed was granted, Wilcox’s boss, County Administrator David Edge, put a proposal before supervisors purporting to “review and update” the county’s conflict of interest codes. The resolution, placed on the supervisors’ consent calendar and approved without dissent on March 20, 2007, also contains language specifically exempting Wilcox’s residence from the conflict regulations. The exemption appears to circumvent California law governing public officials’ conduct and defining conflicts of interest.

San Luis Obispo County officials have adopted a conflict of interest code patterned after the state Government Code. Both require financial disclosures by elected and appointed county officials and specific employees. The state code prohibits any county employee from benefitting from any contract approved by his or her department.

County Administrator David Edge said Monday that he doesn’t see a conflict of interest in the Wilcox-Hall arrangement.

“I think it is not a problem. She [Wilcox] is not involved… Deb [Hossli, county human resources director] is in charge and she reports to me,” said Edge.

Hossli, who promised to provide financial and contract information for reporters early Monday regarding county payments to Hall’s law firm, was instead “in meetings” and unavailable by publication time.

Wilcox, who takes down more than $200,000 a year in salary and benefits, said Monday she is no longer the county’s chief budget officer. Other county officials, however, told Monday that they currently believe she still is.

Edge suggested “it was probably County Counsel” that made the initial proposal for the conflict of interest resolution changes.

Wilcox received the grant deed to her new house on May 23, 2007. On that document, she is listed as “a married woman.” She was separated from David Wilcox around the time of purchase of her Blackberry Avenue house. The neatly-groomed, single-story, 1,600-square-foot residence has three bedrooms and two baths and is located in an area of homes with a value range of $550,000 to $750,000.

Wilcox’s required statement of economic interests, filed late with the county in April, lists no reportable assets for calendar year 2007. She received a stern letter threatening sanctions from county clerk-recorder Julie Rodewald for missing the filing deadline.

SLO County employees started work on revisions for the conflict of interest code in February 2007. The result was a “resolution updating the conflict of interest code for the county administrative office to reflect two title changes due to classification changes.” In Edge’s subsequent discussion with supervisors, he said the “administrative office has made changes to their conflict of interest code. The board of supervisors is responsible for approving conflict of interest codes for county departments… and therefore [it is] necessary to approve department’s designated position list.”

According to Edge, the conflict code revision also was necessary to accommodate a change in Wilcox’s title, from “Deputy County Administrator” to “Assistant County Administrator.” Along with that change was a less conspicuous alteration; newly adopted requirements for Wilcox’s conflict reporting now specifically exclude this particular provision:

“Investments in, and income from, any business entity doing business with the County and engaged in (a) the acquisition, sale or lease or development of real property; (b) provision of insurance brokerage or consulting services; or (c) provision of consulting services of the type which have, in the past two years, or which with reasonable foreseeability, may be utilized in the next one-year period by the filer’s particular division within the Department.”

When asked if the new resolution’s wording might refer specifically to her own residence, Wilcox said, “I’m not aware of that.”

Wilcox said, “I don’t think this is a conflict of interest because I don’t have any authority over Clay. I don’t deal directly with Clay Hall contracts. Deb Hossli deals with them, she signs off on Clay’s bills. I’m not involved in securing his services. That goes through Deb (Hossli) and David (Edge).”

Wilcox was asked if she thought her financial arrangement with Hall posed a potential conflict of interest.

“Nope,” she said. “I even checked it out with my boss before I did the deal. He said there was no conflict.”

She said she couldn’t recall if that particular exchange was verbal or written.

When asked if he perceived a conflict of interest, Hall replied that the house on Blackberry Avenue “is my wife’s investment. She wanted to get into the real estate investment market. The house was purchased jointly. She has half.” Hall then added, “And [Wilcox] pays rent. But she has half, too.” Hall offered no explanation regarding the rental agreement.

Edge said the Hall firm was picked by the county in “a decision of risk management years ago.” Edge said he did not know if “a specific contract” with Clay exists. County officials have been unable to locate such a contract. A Ventura County claims administrator, Carl Warren and Co., receives county disbursements to pay Hall’s firm. That contract also was unavailable.

Jenson said Hall’s law firm “has been doing the bulk of the [county’s outside] work, and they’re good at it.”

Jenson added, “I don’t think competitive bidding works well in professional services.” And he said Hall’s firm “is the only experienced law firm specializing in this type of work.”

Asked why his firm gets so much work from the county, Hall said, “We’ve been doing cases on and off since the early 1980s. We are the only pure defense firm in the county. The others do plaintiff work; you get conflicts when you do both.”

Tags:, conflict, county officials, San Luis Obispo County

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Member Opinions:

By: Anonymous on 6/18/08

I'm writing in response to "yahoo's" and "anothercomment's" entry regarding alleged special treatment of a new hire (dated 06-08-08). After reading your entries, I was quickly reminded of a saying "it is better to be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt." An entrusted truth seeker has apparently misinformed you. Check your facts. There is no blood relation between the former “GS Director” and the female you reference as ‘his daughter’. This same female was not married at the time the ‘new worker’ was hired. Therefore, your comment about ‘his daughter’ and ‘his son-in-law’ hold no merit. If you work in the department, as you claim, then you would know the truth of the situation; the night-shift position was temporary to cover a staff shortage. It was not approached as a permanent shift change, was not mutually agreed to as a permanent shift change, and thusly, wasn’t maintained as a permanent shift change.

“anothercomment” asked “Why are department directors allowed to hire their family?” Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the County’s hiring procedures. A Director would not be responsible for hiring for a position unless it was a position that he/she would directly supervise. If you truly are working “in general services” (which as a title of a department should be capitalized i.e. General Services) then you could rely on your own memory regarding the day you interviewed for your position. Perhaps you were interviewed by one or two people, or in front of a panel. Regardless, it was not in front of the Director.

I suggest you quit sniveling and wipe your nose. Be a big boy. By the way, it’s been reported that somebody has been taking excessive breaks lately and are often unaccounted for at the job site. Go look in the mirror, and see if you approve of the work ethics of the person staring back at you, and then remember, THAT’s the only person you need to worry about, THAT’s the only person you are responsible for, and THAT’s the only person you have a right to judge.

By: Anonymous on 6/14/08

I think Edge said on the radio the posts were from him. Maybe that was an Edge impersonator on the Congalton's show. Scary.

By: Anonymous on 6/14/08

re: "been there"'s last entry. it amazes me that people actually think david edge himself wrote those responses below. you can be anybody you want on here…hence the name carol brady. certainly you don't believe 'curious george' the cartoon monkey actually wrote the response below as well do you? c'mon now. and for you clock watchers… everyone gets a lunch break by law and not everyone takes that break from 12-1pm. salaried positions don't have hours set in cement. sometimes their projects take them beyond the 5:00 hour. should they be paid overtime in addition to their salaries? or take their time back at no added expense to the budget? occasionally people have been known to take a vacation day off. sometimes people are even too sick to come to work and have to stay home. but i guess you took that into consideration when you decided, solely based on date and time, it was impossible for any other scenario to be considered and the 'david edge' blogger was using County time. call the waaa-ambulance.

By: Anonymous on 6/11/08

I find it interesting that David Edge responded on 6-4-08 @ 1:24pm. So now we pay him to respond to e-mails. No wonder we are over budget. It also seems that he is a little too personally involved and is protesting a little too much. But having been there, they both cover each others butts. They have been doing this for years. Maybe someone will take this to a higher level and get some action. Does anyone have any ideas???????? I am tired of all the corruption in SLO Administration.

By: Anonymous on 6/10/08

to concerned_taxpayer

Boy you sure read a lot into that. The link is gone. Thats all I said. Why was what I wanted to no. My comment was tongue in cheek about Dave, Dan, and Karen. A bit defensive are't you?

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

Hey Dori, how are yuh? Still doing your imitation of chinese people? I remember a time when you hated Gail and Deb; let's see weren't you one that testified about certain job specs being fixed for her to get the Assistant DSS Director position. Oh yeah, and I heard another position got fixed for Deb. But you probably don't give a hoot about that now that you're drinkin' buddies and take county paid trips here and there with her? What happened to all your personal conviction?

Couldn't help commenting to you Dave Hurst . . . what do you know about how she's doing as HR director? Cussin' and swearin's all I hear. And how much are those billings that she receives from Mr. Hall?

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

Insider, great post about the link to 920kvec … because it is a GREAT example of making something out of nothing as MANY posters have done here with FALSE or BAD info about County and other staff-you are, as many posters here, seem to be just trying to stir something up without having ANY facts-just spoutin' off. In this case, as you posted your blog note at 5something today about the link to 920kvec guess where Karen was? YES … AT KVEC! Doing David C's show. Readers – my fellow humans/people, this is a GREAT example of how people such as alledged "Insider" and MANY others post comments here without knowing the facts. DO NOT believe all you read; in fact, I thing SLO County is run as well as any governmetn entity can be, although it does have its issue. But, this blog-MANY of the posts here are pure BS from people with a personal grip or simply looking for attention or "payback", without knowing the facts, at all. You CANNOT take many of these posts at face value, at all. Think for yourselves, don't just believe a bunch of BS from bloggers with a vengenance. So, thanks "Insider" for making my point with your post…funny you'd post that when Dave C and Karen were together! It NEGATES all of your your other supposed "insider" info credibility. Just gossip, zero facts.

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

Did anybody notice the link to 920kvec is gone. Is there trouble between Dave, Dan and Karen. Now theres a story.

By: Anonymous on 6/9/08

Apparently Edge and Wilcox are hoping this thing just fades away. There seems to be no attempt to address the real issue hear. Maybe Dan and Karen should contact the Political Fair Action Commitee themselves since the county obviously does not intend too. Whose protecting the public when it appears there is corruption at the highest levels of county government. Obviously not David Edge or the Board of Supervisors.

By: Anonymous on 6/8/08

No rules were broken when he hired his daughter's husband. But the others are right that it is a morale issue because he got special treatment.

By: Anonymous on 6/8/08

There are indeed systemic morale problems from top to bottom. They did a couple of surveys, but anybody who knows that IT can indeed trace the person answering the survey is not going to answer, or if they do, they won't give candid answers.

By: Anonymous on 6/8/08

I agree with insider that it sounds like there are internal moral problems that the BOS needs to address. We are all taxpayers and should demand that government be run effectively, efficiently and legally. Citizens should call their Board member and ask what is going on in County Government.

By: Anonymous on 6/8/08

Is this not suppose to be about the original report of proper or improper action of a county administrator.

Though interesting, it sounds like there is county wide morale issues under the current administration which should be dealt with by our B.O.S.

By: Anonymous on 6/8/08

I worknin general services. I think the things END IS NEAR said are mean and wrong. The new gs director aleady has met with us twice which is twice more then the past gs director. We were told we can only go through our supervisor before. The past gs director hired his soninlaw who cried to daddy warbucks when he got night shift and guess what? Just like that the new guy gets on day shifts. Why are department directors allowed to hire their family?

By: Anonymous on 6/8/08

Sounds like this has become a format for a lot of disgruntled county employees to vent about the current disfunctional county government. As a non county employee, a voting county citizen,and an individual that views almost every supervisors, and planning commission meeting I suggest our bloated county goverment is starting to show the strain of too many rats on the ship. They are all looking over thier shoulders as to who will go first. The county government like all government has grown far beyond its need and purpose. They know there is only one way to bring expenses in line with income and that is to eliminate some of the rats. The smarter ones will start looking for greener pastures while the rest will just gnaw on each other for a while.

By: Anonymous on 6/8/08

Way to go dave hurst. Bet none of these spineless morons have the guts to use their own names. But c'mon you freedom to bloggers, take his challenge. Any ONE of you have the guts to use your real name? Man up and drop the cloaks children. You won't think this FORUM is so great when it's your turn to be smeared. Only a matter of time.

I would particularly like to hear from mr or mrs GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT.

By: Anonymous on 6/8/08

To Curious George, Yes.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

Are you the same David Hurst who was forced to resign from the DA's office back in the 90s for improper conduct? Just curious.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

yes. I sent it 3 times just to get some sort of response.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

Unlike most of you who have blogged here I am not afraid to use my name. I'm Dave Hurst, who "forced out" says "I live with Ms Hossli". Get up to speed "Forced Out", she moved out in October of last year. Yes I am on a conflict public defender contract but I am not the administrator for the contract or involved in the negotiations for it. That is Mr. Schiavo. Oh yes, I have been on the contract far before Ms. Hossli ever became the HR director. However, everyone seems compelled to vilify Ms. Hossli. I have absolutely nothing to gain from defending her. She's not exactly fond of me. Do your homework. Has she been an effective HR director? Has she saved money for the county while being the head of Risk Management? The answer is yes to both. Leave her alone and let her do her job. If you don't have the heuvos to use your name in these blogs here is my email. Of course you will have to enter an address of your own so you probably won't respond.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

Unlike most of you who have blogged here I am not afraid to use my name. I'm Dave Hurst, who "forced out" says "I live with Ms Hossli". Get up to speed "Forced Out", she moved out in October of last year. Yes I am on a conflict public defender contract but I am not the administrator for the contract or involved in the negotiations for it. That is Mr. Schiavo. Oh yes, I have been on the contract far before Ms. Hossli ever became the HR director. However, everyone seems compelled to vilify Ms. Hossli. I have absolutely nothing to gain from defending her. She's not exactly fond of me. Do your homework. Has she been an effective HR director? Has she saved money for the county while being the head of Risk Management? The answer is yes to both. Leave her alone and let her do her job. If you don't have the heuvos to use your name in these blogs here is my email. Of course you will have to enter an address of your own so you probably won't respond.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

Unlike most of you who have blogged here I am not afraid to use my name. I'm Dave Hurst, who "forced out" says "I live with Ms Hossli". Get up to speed "Forced Out", she moved out in October of last year. Yes I am on a conflict public defender contract but I am not the administrator for the contract or involved in the negotiations for it. That is Mr. Schiavo. Oh yes, I have been on the contract far before Ms. Hossli ever became the HR director. However, everyone seems compelled to vilify Ms. Hossli. I have absolutely nothing to gain from defending her. She's not exactly fond of me. Do your homework. Has she been an effective HR director? Has she saved money for the county while being the head of Risk Management? The answer is yes to both. Leave her alone and let her do her job. If you don't have the heuvos to use your name in these blogs here is my email. Of course you will have to enter an address of your own so you probably won't respond.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

End is near

Your chops are busted because that IT nerd cranked a quarter million of fat out two hours after she moved in. OUCH. But more money for the rest of us I say. If the new guy can spell and show up to work on time he'll be an improvement. Time for you and your ilk to move on before you give more people compensable damages.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

Gail only has Gail in her best interest. There has been no savings in re-orgs or any other decision by Gail, only items that promote her salary and that of unqualified appointments like the most recent G.S. director position, the newest puppet. The public should feel comfortable knowing that now millions of dollars in county projects will be managed by an ex-Sears salesman and an I.T nerd over him. Your tax dollars at work. WOW when will it end.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

I would like to thaqnk UncSLO for this forum. Where else can we have had such an open and frank exchange? If you read this thread, you really get a better sense of how our county government operates, both good and bad.

I think this has been quite healthy and perhaps Wilcox, Edge, Hosli, Hall and company will be a little more careful in their actions now knowing that there is some kind of local media watching them. THIS IS A GOOD THING!

But I gleaned this from a previouos post: "Vendor Hall sat on the selection committee when Hossli competed for the HR job."

WHAT? Hossli and Wilcox have been incredibly tight friends for years. Hall helps Hossli get a plumb job. Hossli looks the other way when Hall helps Wilcox buy a house.

And you suggest there isn't a story here? I fear the worst is yet to come.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

Gee, Dori clam down……

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

ForcedOut, you could get an assignment with Uncovered! Much of your info is as in error as some of their initial story so you’d be a good fit. One basic thing you are in factual error with is Hossli and Hurst, even though that is personal business, but since you noted it, they do not live together. They do not even live in the same city. And you cannot even get the name of the sheriff’s department title correct, such a simple thing. Yes that is a very minor tiny itty bitty little issue getting the official name of the department wrong which many, many people do but if you are going to be professing to be posting factual info here and you are slamming other people personally you can’t slip up with very tiny basics like that. In this context, at least two basic, simple wrongs like that mean you have zero credibility with me. Plus, referencing the Sheriff’s Dept by the wrong, very old title of office means you have been LONG gone, long ago “forced out” and thus have no knowledge of current operations-or you otherwise don’t pay attention to detail and indeed the devil is in the details. As for Wilcox, she is a good person and, although I do not want to go into this here because it is no one’s business, it is her personal business and it is unfair to discuss this in public forums but based on other comments here I will, she is a caring and loving mother. And, as others have posted here she does have the best interests of the county and taxpayers in mind. She is smart, straightforward, does not beat around the bush and is otherwise very capable at her job. She calls people on it when they try to BS something. SOME people can’t handle that. Heaven forbid they are called to task for what they do, or do not do, and then have to face the music and then in turn have anonymous internet blogs to bitch about how allegedly unfairly they were treated. Get real and get a mirror because as a taxpayer I WANT people like Wilcox running this county and asking straightforward questions and having the backbone to take action when needed regardless of how popular or unpopular that appropriate action from her or Edge or whomever might be. Wilcox should be commended, not slammed. And, with the voter turn-out rate from last Tuesday I’ll surmise a fair number of the posters here did not even cast a vote. They’d rather whine and/or do the “poor me” routine than participate in a democracy versus petty bashing on the internet. Not only that but how many posters here go to events such as board of supervisors meetings to really see what happens and how the county really works or at least watch it on cable or the internet or listen on the radio. Not many, I bet. Not pretty. As for Hossli and comments from former county employees perhaps there is a reason they are FORMER county employees. Remember, county employees are here to serve the overall good of the citizens – if some cannot serve the common good instead of being concerned with their own personal interests or agendas perhaps they should indeed end up as former county employees. As for Hossli she is no idiot. To post statements regarding humorous normal human-being mockingly fun stuff that may or may not be in her office is stretching it a lot … if that is the best one can do it is zero wonder why they are FORMER county employees. I KNOW Wilcox and Hossli run tight ships – as taxpayers we should all expect them to do so – I do expect that – and if employees cannot accept that and the resulting benefit to TAXPAYERS then they should indeed be former employees-how appropriate for both the county and the citizens who are we taxpayers. Continue to watch out for OUR taxpayer interests, Wilcox, Hossli, and others instead of these individuals pinging on you because of their own self interest and not the taxpayers.

By: Anonymous on 6/7/08

Some consultants working for government are required to file conflict of interest forms. They also need to list financial investments.

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

Yes I agree with the writer below. The sups hire a "human resources" director with major potty mouth. As a former employee whose been in her office, heard her cuss in front of anyone, etc. And what county official would have a sign in her office referring to herself as a "b__ch"? Yeah thats right. . . . And this is the person in charge of administering county personnel policies!

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

There are two parts to conflict of interest for public officials.

They are: 1. participating in decisions that will have either a negative or positive financial benefit on the official, and 2. disclosing economic interest, which is required on the annual Statement of Economic Interests (e.g., Form 700).

There are minimum requirements regarding conflict of interest under the State Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), pursuant to the Political Reform Act.

One example of reporting on the Statement of Economic Interests is if a public official has an investment (e.g., financial interest) with business entity located in, doing business in, planning to do business in, or which has done business during the previous 2 years the agency's jurisdiction.

For anyone wanting more information on FPPC Regulations, go to:

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

guilty until proved otherwise? what country ar you from?

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

hossli ousted a load of deadwood and won't be surprised by this dribble. DPL, TK AND RG, move on.

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

ForcedOut writes: Dan and Karen please take a close look at the relationship of vendor Hall and the Wilcox/Hossli dynamic duo! Wilcox runs the County – not Edge. He is too busy sexually harrassing his female mid level managers and having affairs with other County employees. Vendor Hall sat on the selection committee when Hossli competed for the HR job. She had no qualifications, cusses like a sailor and drinks like a fish. Yet, with the help of vendor Hall and a Board of Sups, that act like blind sheep in a dark room, she gets the job over dozens of more qualified and experienced applicants. Within weeks she proposes pay raises for the Board of Sups and approves rate increases for vendor Hall! All of this with Wilcox's blessing. Due to Hossli's lack of experience she has cost the county millions of tax payer dollars in her mishandling of the sheriff's office mess. $600 an hour for a retired judge to do an inquiry that was already being done by the state department of justice? Also ask the question about the last time vendor Hall ever represented the County in a court trial? Answer is never…County always pays always settles. Nice collusion with the plaintiff attorney's – vendor Hall runs up his bill, settles the case and everyone gets paid. Very convenient and very corrupt. Money and power are corrupting influences. Where are the disclosures? The public is taken advantage of because no one is paying attention.

Hossli lives with David Hurst – a local attorney with a county public defender contract. How convenient!

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

An Accountant says:

Sorry pal, but you are missing the point! Lets assume everything is kosher as far as the numbers are concerned. Of course you can have a partnership with any one you please.

Lets see the other aspect of this story. Employed by the county at taxpayers expense and very well paid with all benefits and good pension, most taxpayers can only dream of. The outside attorney with a contract of a million dollar and you know most of it is time since there is not much material involved. Spend time togather in their free time off hours. Of course we all assume they don't talk business in their private conversation so they can also claim there was no conflict of interest. Now lets make a case for my naivite but don't take me or anyone else for stupid, please!!

If a men of cloth goes to the Bunny Ranch in Nevada, claiming to make an assesment of how they operate so he can warn his flock against the dangers of such a place, will you take his word?

Most people would not, even if he had done nothing wrong (prostitution is legal in some counties) or illigal.

And that is the smell test!!

I hope you get it!!

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

It really doesn't take much to determine the relationship of Wilcox and Hall as to whether it is an investment property to Wilcox or her personal residence. Simply get a copy of the HUD agreement and escrow final closing statement which were provided at the close of the property by the escrow co. And a copy of Hall's and Wilcox's 2007 Federal income taxes with all attachments which will show on schedules A and E how they characterized the property for tax purposes. Period end of question. It may be harder than getting a look at Bill Clinton's contributors for the library I imagine.

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

to an Accountant

The question is can one single family residence be in joint ownership with one person claiming thier half as a personal residence for tax purposes and the other joint resident claiming thier half as a rental property on thier taxes. If so I've never seen it and the only way to prove that type of thing was acually taking place would be to see the tax filings of both parties . Right Mr. Accountant?

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

"Wants Proof" finally gives us the attack dogs basic point –

"they are guilty until they can prove otherwise".

And so our constitution is trumped by the mob mentality of the anonymous internet.

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

What kind of idiots are up in the middle of the night writing on a blog? Partiularly on a blog owned by scumbags that got fired for being incompetent from a anti government weekly rag?

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

One can have a property that they don't own as their principal residence. And of course they can own half of their personal residence. Also this does not appear to be a partnership. It appears to be a joint ownership. To be a partnership it would be held in the name of the partnership and not individuals.

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

One can have a property that they don't own as their principal residence. And of course they can own half of thir personal residence. Also this does not appear to be a partnership. It appears to be a joint ownership. To be a partnership it would be held in the name of the partnership and not individuals.

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

To Anonymous,

You say you want to see proof that this is illegal. Funny that the rest of us want to see proof that it trully is legal. We can't get those answers. There are a bunch of flapping jaws here (or in this case snapping fingers) but not one single question regarding the financial arrangements of this little deal have been answered. That says a lot. If I were in Gail and Halls situation I would be waving my proof of 50/50 payments, rent payments, interest deductions in everyones face. So I say they are guilty until they can prove otherwise. Anyone who doesn't know that this is a conflict of interest no matter how you slice it should not be working in a government position.

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

One can have a property that they don't own as their principal residence. And of course they can own half of thir personal residence

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

I agree, this should not be a personal issue. But when people are calling out personal facts about Mr. Hall's and Ms. Wilcox's family affairs, it becomes that.

If indeed it is a "criminal" issue, then why did they not attempt to hide it? One would think that two people with the status such as those in question would think about that IF there was some kind of illegal or reprehensible matter taking place.

All I know is, I want proof. I want sources. I want to see, literally see with my own eyes, proof of the illegality of this process.

And in response to "To Jason," who apparently knows the persons in question, I say to each his or her own. Any person could write a comment on here and claim to know them. Hell, maybe I do. Maybe I think they are both completely just and ethical people. Every person has their own opinion, and therefore judging a person by someone else's critiques is not the way to go. Didn't we learn that in preschool.

Honestly folks.

By: Anonymous on 6/6/08

How is this a 'personal issue"? Are you insane? Ms. Wilcox has no personal privacy when she chooses to do a business transaction with Mr. Hall.

What is it about ethics that you don't understand? This is just the tip of the county iceberg and more will flow in the weeks to come.

By: Anonymous on 6/5/08

I don't agree. Everyone has some family. It does not bar them from problems. This is not a personal issue. It is a criminal issue

By: Anonymous on 6/5/08

Before any judging is important to remember that what is said not only affects the people talked about, but their families and friends as well. Consideration is important when it comes to issues where not all the information is known. If uncovering is the main goal of this site, it is important to uncover issues that are clearly affecting the residents of this area. Personal buisness is called that for a reason. it is personal, and with all the facts, it is easy to see that this is not really what is being made out to be.

By: Anonymous on 6/5/08

182 comments have been posted on this story so far. 182.

So tell me this isn't a news story.

Shame on the Fibune for not pursuing this.

By: Anonymous on 6/5/08

I agree with your points about Gail and Clay Hall and the inferences to some type of sexual relationship. That's just dirty and petty B.S. and clearly wrong to malign people. However, as a county employee who does know Mr. Edge, etc. — don't assume this is all on the up and up; an investment? No she claims its a residence. If it's an investment, did Mr. Hall file an economic statement with the FPPC? because consultants with our department are required to. Mr. Blackburn does not owe Wilcox or Edge a public apology. And for those "few" of you who have indicated that Edge and Gail have integrity, you must be kidding! And for the writer who inferred that a former department head used offensive, gender based remarks about "blondie", it's well known around the County Government how offensive Mr. Edge can be. . . he is well known for making the most inappropriate and offensive comments of all. Gail is rude and arrogant . . . and now we know she also lacks good judgment.

By: Anonymous on 6/5/08

The absence of a direct and present quid-pro-quo conflict of interest does not make deals like this squeaky clean. And for many other kinds of office holders, things like this are prohibited for good reason.

I'd prefer county administrators who know that incestuous business deals with major county contractors involving hundreds of thousands of dollars are a bad idea. It's not the scandal of the century, but people of high integrity have a keener sense of smell.

The only consolation is that the Hall's investment was probably timed about as poorly as possible in a crashing property market.

By: Anonymous on 6/5/08

I heard about this story on the radio yesterday and then decided to look into it a little more on this site. Intrigued by both sides' arguments in the blogs, I find it interesting that the accusers are leaving out a few important details. A few things I'd like to make a point of:

1) What are you, the accusers, trying to prove? Why make a big deal about something like this when there are larger issues at hand? Can't you pull your panties out of your rear ends and understand that sometimes people make arrangements that are not trying to scam us "peons"? Not everything is a conspiracy, you know. Why, in all hell, would they leave in plain site a "scam" such as this if they need to hide something?

2) If all of you are so convinced that this actually is a scam, why are some of you signing as anonymous? What do YOU have to hide? Is it because when you might be proved wrong, you don't want to be associated with it? Or, are you friends of those involved and are deciding to be two-faced? I am deeply concerned with what kind of problems this blogging process is creating: random, misinformed people giving their two cents about a topic they don't fully understand and making incorrect claims and allegations anonymously with no repercussions. It should be noted that letters to the editor of newspapers are NEVER taken if they have an unsigned author.

3) Since when do we only listen to what others see and hear? Sure, we've all gotten the alleged facts from the alleged reporters…but where are they getting their numbers and other pieces of information? In today's society, we must all question the sources of gossip, no matter if we agree or disagree with them. We were taught that rule in 4th grade when we heard rumors about who "Billy" kissed underneath the slide. Does Mr. Hall really make millions every year, and does he really get 80% of the county's business? Please give us, the public, your sources; until then, how can we believe you are not misconstruing details to your advantage?

4) In the radio conversation, Mr. Edge said that Mr. Blackburn owes Ms. Wilcox an apology for his erroneous reporting. Even Mr. Blackburn accepted his mistakes; but when will he give a formal and public acknowledgement of his malfeasance?

5) Not only are you, the accusers, being ignorant and stupid, but you are also overstepping your boundaries by making false accusations as to the sexual activity between Mr. Hall and Ms. Wilcox. Who has actually seen them together? These are outright lies. And how is Mr. Hall's "leaving the office before 4 to be with his son at the baseball fields" wrong? Since when is it bad for a dad to be involved with his son's endeavors? You who made that claim: if he leaves early, have you considered the fact that he might arrive early or work on weekends?

This is a story; that point is correct. However, the story is that the inaccuracy of Mr. Blackburn's language is leading people to believe that this is a conflict of interest when in fact it was just a simple investment made by two parties. You may all reply to this, but really consider what you are saying. As for me, I have made my case and I will leave it at this.

By: Anonymous on 6/5/08

Maybe Edge has a conflict in interest in determining whether there is a conflict interest. Since it sounds like he orchestrated the way to avoid the conflict maybe just maybe he shouldn't be the one to judge. You think?

By: Anonymous on 6/5/08

You are ignorant (as is Mr. Edge), everyone keeps talking conflict of interest code and statements. Guess what? There are other conflict "laws" in California as well as common law ones. Thank you to the reporters who broke this. Now be smart and start making the requests for the County's public records. The most amazing thing about this is that Edge and Wilcox appear ignorant as does "Anonymous" of the California and common law conflict provisions. How could people in their high offices lack such judgment?

By: Anonymous on 6/5/08

To Atascadero Too. The FBI investigation is still being conducted in Atascadero. I have no doubt they will be taking a look at Wilcox, Hall and Edge. This is not a small thing. Edge would like to make it look that way but it isn't about "nothing". The FBI will get the documents that the county won't give up. I'll bet you all $$ to donuts that I'm right.