DA hires discredited investigator to look into perjury questions

May 2, 2018

District Attorney Dan Dow


San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow has hired an investigator to look into whether an expert witness used by his office committed perjury. But the investigator he chose has had his work criticized by the San Luis Obispo County civil grand jury. [Cal Coast Times]

Dow’s choice, Richard Thomas, a private investigator with an office in Ojai, was hired by the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District in 2010 to investigate the district’s administrator over questions about payments made to his private engineering firm. John Wallace, who was the administrator, faced questions about conflicts of interest in awarding work to his company the Wallace Group.

Thomas was to look into several questionable transactions including a charge of $16,921 the Wallace Group billed the district to hire a painter to repaint the roof of the sanitation district’s maintenance building.

Thomas concluded from his investigation that the charges were for structural review, contract management and bidding tasks and appeared justified. In his report, Thomas talked about Wallace’s “great reputation,” and disputed the allegations of overcharging and impropriety.

But, in 2011, the San Luis Obispo County Grand Jury found Thomas’ investigation into Wallace inadequate and faulty, a determination it appears the DA’s office shared at the time. The DA’s office charged Wallace in 2017 with two felony and two misdemeanor counts of conflicts of interest in his work for the sanitation district despite Thomas’ report that cleared Wallace of wrongdoing. In March, Wallace plead no contest to the two misdemeanor counts.

Tracy Nix

The expert witness Tracy Nix, an 18-year DA’s office staffer, has testified in court and written in her resume that she holds a bachelors degree from Cal Poly. But Nix does not have a college degree.

On March 14, a judge ordered Tracy Nix’ transcript released to attorney Ilan Funke-Bilu, who planned to refute her testimony on the stand. After the transcript was released, the district attorney’s office decided against having Nix testify.

Responding to questions about Nix’s credentials, Dow said that because Nix “walked” by participating in a Cal Poly commencement she believed that she had graduated and earned her degree.

“If she believed she had a degree, then she did not commit perjury” Dow said. “It is common at Cal Poly for people to believe they have graduated when they have not.”

Following a Cal Coast Times article that included allegations that Nix made multiple false claims in her resume and on the stand, Dow hired Thomas.


This incident along with many other it is clear for DA Dan Dow, when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars, it is not lets get the best and the truth for the money spent but instead it is how can I direct the most taxpayers dollars to my friends or spouses of friends. Dan Dow really needs to go away this election.

Jorge Estrada

This saga is like a toilet bowl that has been cleansed over and over again yet no one is going to like having their dishes washed there. Thankfully there are people who truly believe in the philosophical theory by which fairness is administered (justice) and are willing to do the job regardless of the public distain for that bowl.

JB Bronson

Geez Dan. Serious?


Just another day in SLO and the good old boys are at it again. Wallace, the felon, got away with a misdemeanor, thank you. Now if you walk at Cal Poly you graduated. I guess that’s learning by doing too. In the end this is certainly a good reason to support Funke-Bilu for Judge and hopefully put an end to the local corruption.


What does supporting Funke-Bilu have to do with this? Initially Dan Dow ENDORSED Defense Attorney Funke-Bilu. Tim Covello is the one to support, to put an end to the local corruption.


Funke-Bilu is an “outsider” and has never been part of the system that is currently in place. I would say that the good old boys are literally fearing that Funke-Bilu will get elected. Funke-Bilu is bought by no one.

George Bailey


I cannot in good conscience cast a ballot to reelect DA Dan Dow.

Although this tomfoolery leaves us all wondering if DA Dan Dow is ‘dirty, incompetent, or dumb,’ the fact remains that he should not be reelected if the issue is any of the three, and it surely is at least one of the above.

The taxpaying public deserves better than a district attorney who lacks good judgement and professional ethics. Allowing a so-called expert witness to claim she had a college degree when, in fact, she didn’t, now jeopardizes all of the cases that she testified in. Tracy Nix ought to be charged with perjury, and prosecuted, and DA Dan Dow owes us an explanation as to why he would not perform due diligence in investigating the background of a person his office was promoting as an expert. Moreover, DA Dan Dow needs to explain why his office would use the services of private investigator Richard Thomas, whose work was criticized by a San Luis Obispo County Civil Grand Jury.

Dear DA Dan Dow: please tell us if you are dirty, incompetence or dumb.

We need to know.



Dow said. “It is common at Cal Poly for people to believe they have graduated when they have not.” This is a sad reflection on this learning institution which I attended.


Dow is either dirty, he’s damn dumb, or he’s both.

Thomas was a LEO pal of Arroyo Grande’s disgraced former mayor Ferrara. Of course he determined Wallace was a swell guy, he was helping his buddy Tony.

Mr Dow must believe we all have very short memories.

My vote now goes to the other guy, I almost don’t care who he is at this point.


I’m scrstching my head on this one and thinking “really, just really.” This must be the DA comedy hour, right?


An incompetent investigating a perjurer, what could ever go wrong here? And on your dime… Jeez, SLO got a pretty deep, dank and smelly “swamp” thing goin’ on it’s own self…