Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nutting grants scrutinized

From page A1 | March 25, 2013 | 28 Comments

An investigation of documents related to state grants Supervisor Ray Nutting received is under way, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson confirmed last week.

Over the years Nutting has received more than $74,000 in state Proposition 40 grants to complete fuel reduction projects on his Happy Valley property, according to grant documents. Now invoices provided to the Sierra Coordinated Resource Management Council, Cal Fire’s partner agency that contracts with private landowners who complete fuel reductions projects within the parameters of Prop. 40, are being questioned.

“We are aware of it and we are looking into it,” Pierson said in a telephone interview. “Beyond that, I can’t comment.”

Nutting, while working on another major Prop. 40 fuels reduction project on 37 of his 340 acres, said he’s aware of the investigation. The current project will result in a $49,348 grant.

“If I’d done something wrong I’d know it,” Nutting said.

“I am highly scrutinized by registered forest professionals (hired to oversee the projects) and I’m highly scrutinized by Cal Fire,” the District 2 supervisor explained. “I have no latitude on Prop. 40. I have to do exactly what the grant documents say.”

Cal Fire offers grant opportunities to small forest landowners funded by Prop. 40, the California Clean Water, Clean Air, Safe Neighborhood Parks and Coastal Protection Act of 2002, according to the Cal Fire Website. “The goal of the Proposition 40 Fuels Management Program, or Prop. 40 program, is to contract with private landowners for mutually beneficial forest improvement and wildfire hazard reduction projects designed to reduce fuel loadings that pose a threat to watershed resources and water quality,” the Website states.

Landowners in 15 Sierra Nevada counties — Butte, Plumas, Sierra, Yuba, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador, Alpine, Calaveras, Tuolumne, Madera, Mariposa, Fresno and Tulare — may participate. Cal Fire’s Website explains, “The Prop. 40 Program generally pays 75 percent of the costs and the landowners share is the remaining 25 percent. Landowner management plans, which are required for Prop. 40 program grants, will be paid 90 percent by Prop. 40 program and 10 percent by landowners.”

Since its inception, the Prop. 40 program has granted landowners more than $2.5 million.

In 2009 Nutting received $24,893 after three invoices were submitted — project management and addendum invoices in the amount of $3,137.50 on behalf of Stewart Forestry LLC and a $27,395 invoice on behalf of Nutting Brush Clearing, which shares Nutting’s home address in Somerset. A representative of the El Dorado County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office said they had no record of any business license under that name.

Nutting said interpreting Nutting Brush Clearing as a business is incorrect. The name on the top of the invoice, which was submitted by his registered professional forester, is the project name, not a business name. “It’s a description of the job,” he explained. “My forester knows that, Cal Fire knows that … everybody knows that.”

The Nutting Brush Clearing invoice included a cost breakdown — $6,000 for 15 acres of thinning, $4,125 for 15 acres of pruning, $5,250 for 15 acres of slash disposal and $12,020 for 60.1 acres of herbicide treatment. No additional statements were submitted with the invoice but, Nutting said, the rates used to determine the totals for each portion of the job come from the state.

A Prop. 40 grant program audit released by the California Department of Finance’s Office of State Audits and Evaluations in 2009 questioned this lack of documentation. “Without proof of actual costs by landowners (in the form of cancelled checks or information from bank statements), grant funds could be used for purposes not allowed by the program,” the audit noted.

Auditors recommended requiring proof of actual costs prior to authorizing payment.

Nutting said he agrees with the auditors findings and will provide additional documentation when submitting invoices related to his latest Prop. 40 grant project, which, he said, he’s been working on for more than a year.

“It’s back-breaking work,” Nutting said.

Ray and his brother Tom Nutting each have 340 acres in southern El Dorado County and, Ray said, the brothers have been trying to reduce fire fuels since inheriting the land after their parents died. Tom has also received Prop. 40 grants. Ray noted that a few of his neighbors participate in federal fuel reduction programs.

Fire crews have twice come out to Ray’s property to douse flames, he said.

“The easier thing to do would have been to do nothing and let it burn,” Ray said. “I chose to work with the state and spend the years of my life doing these projects … making (the land) fire safe.”

The DA’s Office, which has requested documents and information from other public agencies, hopes to conclude its investigation within 30 to 60 days, Pierson said. If any wrongdoing is confirmed, Nutting could face charges related to presenting false claims and falsifying records submitted to state agencies, both felonies.


Discussion | 28 comments

  • Joe BfnlMarch 24, 2013 - 10:27 am

    Cue the haters

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  • bookieMarch 24, 2013 - 12:06 pm

    In not so smoke filled rooms there's talk about the disbanded grand jury goings on, guessing the odds on when Pierson will look into what happened. Smart money says never.

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  • Walking TallMarch 24, 2013 - 7:24 pm

    As we thought Ray is going to fall behind all his illegal deals, grants, campaign fraud, money obtained illegally and filtered into his own pocket. The list is so large that the money trail leads to one person RAY NUTTING, so funny how quick he is to try and explain it all away, well Ray what do you say....Save us a lot of money and yourself too by just stepping down and trading those orange chain saw pants for an orange set of jail clothes. The Pioneer FD is just a small portion of the list of funds obtained by fraud, the investigation will reveal all the trails that Ray has gone down. Funny how when caught now he says he "should have just let the out of control/control burn/burn the forest down...More information is known that he threatened George Turnboo during the election for BOS district 2 race and threatened citizens for not putting his signs on their property instead of George's. His involvement in the illegal mine on Big Cut Road, illegal voting, violations of county laws...... The others involved with Ray in his campaign business for other corrupt candidates and the list is hudge. Maybe the DA can contact those who may have all the dirt and would be willing to talk to save themselves. The years that Ray has been involved will certainly shed some light on the list of people who along with Ray have benefited from the illegal money obtained. So all that remains is that we will have to wait and see if our DA will take Ray down along with his partners in crime. Which is it Ray, do you have a business or not, when it is not being investigated you have one but when they are you don't..Just say the truth Ray and you will be set free, remember the bill for the fire supression is still coming and you will be held responsible for all those costs. Aren't you on the fire safe council and set the requirements for burning oh yeah and the fines associated with them. Funny how the bad karma has come back to you Ray....Film at 11....

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  • Walking TallMarch 25, 2013 - 3:29 am

    Let's ask Ray about his campaign business "Sierra Consultants" or some such name, who involves;Dan dellinger, Chris Alarcon, Rodney Stanhope. The same group that did the Pioneer FD illegal tax fraud and that the DA is currently investigating. The same group that funnels money into Ray's campaign and who represent other candidates who have run for political office in our county. I am sure that the FPPC (Fair Political Practice Commission) would like to know how the money is obtained and spent. Illegal grant money being used to fund a campaign and fill the pockets of these "consultants", most certainly would be of interest to them. Then there are all the big developers who Ray has said openly that "he has helped to cut the red tape and skirt the permit process, so that they could bring their business into our county". Of note most recently the automotive repair/paint shop in Shingle Springs, another development in Shingle Springs for high density housing, all of which are in Ray's BOS district!! These are just the tip of the iceburg of illegal activity that Ray is//has been involved or associated with over his time in county government. The time is now to expose all of his illegal activity and all those who are or have been involved with him. We can only hope that our DA and his investigating team don't stop until all is revealed and the GOB's are taken to task. Remove the corruption, it is a cancer that has geown out of control for way too long. Only then will we be able to trust our system of government and our DA's office.

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  • Phil VeerkampMarch 25, 2013 - 5:26 am

    Is it possible that Walking Tall's real identity is Slithering Snake hisssssssssssssing "No San Stino"?

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  • Running TallerMarch 25, 2013 - 7:37 am

    Walking Tall yeah right...more like head in the clouds. First off, I am no Ray fan at all but I know for a fact that the FD Tax was not illegal the actions of the consultant hired by the FD are what's being investigated. Ray didn't pass the tax it was passed by a landslide (I voted for it) to keep a staffed fire engine in our very large community, oh yeah the same fire engine that had to go put out Rays illegal fire this last year. I suppose walking tall was with the super minority that wasn't for having a staffed fire dept and voted no on f. You should get your facts straight before you open your mouth as you clearly are grasping at straws as it relates to the fire tax.

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  • Walking TallMarch 25, 2013 - 8:10 am

    If you know the facts "walking taller" then you know that Ray spearheaded the "Support Measure F fund raiser" which is illegal and Ray suggested the consultants who billed the Pioneer FD for their services and we have had a Grand Jury investigation from which Dan Dellinger et al are being charged and will have to pay back the monies received. It has nothing to do with staffing an engine and we are glad that that engine put out the fire as Ray wasn't attending the fire himself. The real issue here if you read it got your facts straight you would know it doesn't pass the smell test. What this is all about is Ray and his corruption/threats/illegal activites etc. We all want fire service and support all our County Fire Departments we just don't support GOBs and illegal activity.

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  • SparkyMarch 25, 2013 - 8:30 am

    Good thing Walking Tall does not have an ax to grind, metaphorically speaking. Yea, right. Over 750 words in 3 posts in just over 24 hours. Actually, it sounds more like personal ax to grind than any pursuit of "justice".

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 25, 2013 - 8:59 am

    So all of the investigations surrounding Done-Nuttin are in "progress." I would think the only way he will be held to account is from a federal court house, but I could be wrong, we can still hope the DA here will wake up and go into action and if he does he will secure the respect of a lot of people. I have seen a few things in my time and have been in the trenches fighting corruption in this county for a few decades. At the same time I have also seen Done-Nuttin in action and what I saw wasn't good and to find out more was just scratching the surface. He is like the hub of a wheel and if you know the other spokes of the wheel you see right where it points and who is involved and it needs to be cleaned up and cleaned out of this county. The work, I hope has begun finally, and I hope the DA has discovered what a lot of us have, because this could be a good start, because people have had enough.

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  • MarianMarch 25, 2013 - 3:00 pm

    Perhaps people are finally paying attention to the garbage that Nutting is spreading around. How did it take people so long to see this? During the last election, Ray threatened George Turnboo twice, once with witnesses, that he would "bury your f'n ass" (meaning George's) if George kept publicly asking questions about the grant money Ray received. He also tried to bribe George with $25,000 if George would run for the school board, and not run against Ray. This is all illegal but apparently Ray had friends in high places. I wonder how many of them will stick by him now. Folks, Ray is slime, and he thinks he has a right to pull all this garbage. Voters of Dsitrict 2, you have lost your mind in electing him. He will keep doing these low-life things to you and us until you get him off the Board of Supervisors. Demand that he resign! And guess what---he is already announcing he plans to run for state senator! Don't we already have enough corruption in state government?!

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  • allegria mMarch 25, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    Marian you are right. I just moved into dist 2 last year from dist 5 and I wish I had known more about Ray Nutting. I voted for him because I recognized his name but I'm sorry now. I didn't get to hear from George Turnboo as often, so didn't know a lot about him. But I should have listened to friends who told me Nutting was a crook. I spent many years in SF where everyone in public office seems to be crooked and thought I would get away from it here. But Nutting puts some of the SF officials to shame as far as his amount of lying and pushing people aroound. But in SF he would have been caught a long time ago. He is a small time thug apparently, and would have never made it among real big time crooks. He is just a pitiful wannabe. Get rid of him!

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  • jerry ellisMarch 25, 2013 - 6:19 pm

    Phil Veerkamp, you are indeed an odd little piece of cheese. Every time I see one of your comments about things it makes no sense. I guess there is not a lot of sunlight on your planet.

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  • Ken SteersMarch 25, 2013 - 6:27 pm

    $49,000 to clear brush off of 37 acres? I'm sure that is a misprint. As a fellow ranch owner I must ask the question, what's the difference between thinning and pruning forest land? Also I don't think Ms Stack has her facts straight regarding who actually is in control of the allocation of funds. On Cal-fires site it plainly states "Eligible participants may be either government agencies or nonprofit organizations. Per the Public Resources Code, Section 30910(c) "Nonprofit Organization" means any California corporation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal Internal Revenue Code. Individual landowners are eligible for Prop 40 Fuel Management Program grants from CAL FIRE's partner, Sierra Coordinated Resource Management Council." I'm not aware of the Nutting property being a 501(c)(3). So as to my understanding the funds Ray is receiving would be under control of the County Supervisors

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  • LisaMarch 25, 2013 - 9:18 pm

    Too bad there's not Grand Jury to investigate. Thanks Kirk!

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  • Jethro McSwiftMarch 25, 2013 - 9:20 pm

    jerry ellis - - - - LINK - Like this one, jerry? - - - I agree. That dude is smokin' sumpthin

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  • Chester Katherwood Jr.March 26, 2013 - 8:06 am

    Would the real Mr. Walking Tall please stand up? If you walk so tall let us know who you really are. I was recently standing in Raleys and overheard two people talking about how big of a joke Mr. Walking Tall was.

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 26, 2013 - 9:29 am

    How about having Done-Nuttin stand up and take his medicine in front of a state AG or federal Grand Jury where his supporters can't corrupt the process. How many times have we all heard he "Didn't know it was illegal." Once to often I hope this time. The DA needs to act in this matter by having the AG or feds handle it. Done-Nuttin has fooled enough fools in this county.

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  • marianMarch 26, 2013 - 10:15 am

    Chester--or should I say Ray? It is always very apparent when you makes things up, like the people in Raley's. And you complain that you don't know why people don't like you? How about lying, stealing, threatening people, bribery, being violent towards your kids,and public drunkeness? Those are all good for starters.

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  • Who, What, and WhyMarch 26, 2013 - 11:16 am

    and lastly HOW??? How does this corruption get voted in? It's a real SHAME !!! Shame is seen, but not by those who are the shamed. Once upon a time we had the Sheriff to help us...Now, the evil is so perverse that our lone Sherriff, who is one of the good guy's, can't do it all himself. Where's the MIB???

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  • In The KnowMarch 26, 2013 - 11:33 am

    FYI, "Walking Tall" is our own Larry Hennick.

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  • Disgusted VoterMarch 26, 2013 - 4:15 pm

    First to Allegria--you talked about the corruption in the Bay Area. Well Ray and his parents were all born in the Bay Area, so he fits right in there. And he's not fourth generation in this County like he says. Another lie. And to In the Know (Ray), I thought Walking Tall was Larry Hennick also, but I asked around and found out who it was. It's not Larry. It's a District 2 person in south county who used to be a Ray supporter but got disgusted with his corruption, just like me. And another good piece of information---Ray had prisoners, either county or state, on work furlough clearing his property. Ray was taking grant money to clear the property and was also taking money from the county/state for for the prisoners clearing the same property. A little double dipping? Hope the DA is seeing this. I am afraid to go public using my real identity as Ray has a big reputation for bullying and threatening.

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  • James E.March 26, 2013 - 6:02 pm

    Make an allegation against someone liked or who has standing in the community, and the investigators investigate the one making the allegation. It's a nice little circle leading nowhere -- justice only begins to be served when a higher authority intervenes.

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  • Walking TallMarch 27, 2013 - 4:40 am

    It's always funny when something is said that is the truth some of the supporters always want the person to give their name. For anyone who uses another name it is always for the reason stated so many times; not wanting to be a target of the GOB's. Because as we have seen they will go after you, the most important thing to remember is that the blogs are just talk and what is on the mind of those who write. Focus on what is being said and not the identity or name used, there are very good reasons for using another name and it has worked everytime. Those who don't agree always want to focus on the name and ignor the reporting. It's fun to have everyone try and guess who is writting but what is more important is that their information is always the point of debate by others. By asking the person to "Use your real name" is nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from the stated facts/reporting. I support the use of other names as it's not the name of who is writing but the topic upon which is being debated. Besides everyone looks to see what 10-36 Frank and numerous others are commenting on now and see that they can be relied on as most often they're true. The bottom line here is that we all enjoy the blogs and the people who write here and it's their choice as to what name they use. Whatever the reason that they have to do so it's the subject and information that we should really focus on. So nope not Larry sorry....

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 27, 2013 - 9:44 am

    Every so often someone thinks a writer is Larry Hennick himself for whatever reasons it is becoming an enigma like a long lost painting by a famous artist newly discovered. What people may or not remember is he was one who took on the Gob's with no holds barred in the 2002 Sheriff election against the Barker/Neves Gob machine and he was right then and it took a number of years for people to find out the truth about it. At the same time he became the Gob's #1 target as did just about every person and employee who stood up then and asked for change, honesty, and integrity to be restored to the Sheriff's Office. It was a long hard road and the Gob's inflated their huge pensions, promoted each other with winks and nods, and most escaped with their ill gotten tax dollars. After that, the Gob's began their endless witch hunts for those who stood up for what was right and all was later proven to be correct, too late for many good people who were subjected to it. Today, things are a little changed for the better in some areas, and there is hope for the future as people's eyes are open, a different DA is around now and he might do the right thing, and people realize it is not too much to ask that our elected people follow some old rules of honesty and integrity, not perfection, but someone who earns respect by their actions of honest leadership. With this is mind, Larry or someone like-minded might want to think about a run in District 2 very soon because it is time for a change there.

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  • SteveMarch 31, 2013 - 8:38 am

    Wow This is the guy we trust to take care of business for, We The People here in Shingle Springs,Time to Look at what was Voted in, and what other shady deals he is involved in

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  • Walking TallApril 14, 2013 - 11:55 pm

    Here we go again, rumor has it that "Teflon Ray" is going to be allowed to change his past reportings to the FPPC thus wiping out his felonies in campaign reporting. If this is true he will cast a watchful eye on our DA and his staff as to what they do in response. How can anyone believe in our County Government or Justice system when this type of rumor is told. Let's hope the DA doesn't allow this and continues his investigation and the CALFIRE bills Ray for "the out of control, control burn fire suppression effort. The Measure F (Pioneer FD illegal tax scheme)and misuse of funds and their use by Ray in his campaigns along with the "Grant Funds" should be enough for anyone at the DA's office to complete their investigation/charges yet to be filed. We can only watch and see if this all plays out and once and for all Ray is removed from political office; if all is found to be true. I guess this will have to be seen for the nay sayors to see the forest for the trees and not just the ones Ray set on fire....

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  • Concerned NeighborApril 20, 2013 - 2:28 am

    I'm curious? Did Ray clear his private forest of brush with title 40 monies or was it to clear the slash from logging his 600 acres? Wow Ray... I want free money too!!

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMay 30, 2013 - 3:10 pm

    march 24th--well its a start

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