County supervisor criminally charged for marijuana vote

July 26, 2018

Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez

Amid allegations that multiple public officials in California have financially benefited through their support of marijuana businesses, the Kern County District Attorney’s Office filed two conflict of interest charges against a county supervisor for conflicts of interest. [Cal Coast Times]

Last week, prosecutors filed two misdemeanor charges against Supervisor Leticia Perez, 41, for failures to disclose and voting to promote the marijuana industry while her husband Fernando Jara worked as a consultant for Kern County marijuana interests. The charges are the first time an elected official has been criminally charged for conflicts of interest in Kern County.

On Oct. 24, 2017, Perez was the lone vote against a Kern County commercial cannabis ban. Her husband owns Savage Communications, a consulting firm that has worked to promote pro-cannabis policies.

According to prosecutors, Perez “did make, participate in making or attempt to use her official position to influence a governmental decision in which she knew or had reason to know she had a financial interest.”

The second count states Perez failed to disclose her investments, interests in real property, and income in 2016.

Allegations of bribery and conflicts of interests regarding the Kern County marijuana industry were first raised in 2017 by David Abbasi, the owner of three cannabis shops. Because he refused to “pay to play,” Abbasi said he was left out of the marijuana lottery.

Similar allegations of “pay to play” schemes have been raised about several San Luis Obispo County and Grover Beach officials.

A handful of members of SLO NORML, a local chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said SLO County Supervisor Adam Hill told members he would support their efforts on behalf of small grower if they supported him financially.

In Grover Beach, applicants have questioned the integrity of the process after city officials voted to award four marijuana dispensary licenses to a group of people who include felons, a man on the sex offender registry list and people affiliated with the League of California Cities.

Following the criminal charges against Perez, a Latino advocacy group asked the state to investigate if the charges were retaliation because of Perez’s testimony in a Kern County redistricting case.

Perez is facing six months in jail on each count of conflict of interest.


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Rich in MB

and where is Dan Dow?

Too Busy with Photo Opps and Campaign fund raising to hold our Public Officials to account!


Jorge Estrada

Obviously a conflict of interest is enforceable where there is a working class conservative majority. Over here we can’t have a conflict of interest because we are compact community so it’s called mitigation.


Myself

So way isn’t the darling a hill under investigation for this,in fact why isn’t he just under investigation period.


DocT

when they “legalized” cannabis, the main goal of the legislation was to stall the nascent industry long enough to bring all the cronies in and force out the local, long-time cultivators.


This is an example of that. SLO county is worse. Corruption….it’s the halmark of government.


Stunned

Well put rukidding. I doubt they’ll convict her in a million years but, it should send a clear message that people are watching in this time of “draining the swamp”!


Ricky2

Mary Jane politics in Kern is nothing like SLO, so the story’s comparisons with Hill are weird.


Basically, the BoS there doesn’t want any MJ in the county — refuse to license stores, have constant prosecutions of those who do what state law permits. So this woman voted against that! Thus the good old boys go after her. Heck, they better find something a lot more convincing that her husband is a communications consultant for MJ businesses. Give me a break. In that Jim Crow county, the fact her name is Perez probably explains all.


rukidding

Time to bring back some old memories from Karen Carpenter. “We’ve only just begun.”