Nutting hearing called off

By From page A1 | June 14, 2013

A Thursday hearing for Ray Nutting was taken off the court calendar and now awaits reassignment.

Nutting was due to be arraigned by Judge Warren Stracener on Thursday morning, but the hearing was taken off the court calendar by Presiding Judge Suzanne Kingsbury, a court bailiff said Thursday morning. The case awaits reassignment by Kingsbury, possibly to a new courtroom. The case had originally been reassigned to Stracener’s courtroom after Judge Daniel B. Proud recused himself on Monday; it was reassigned by Assistant Presiding Judge James Wagoner as Kingsbury could not be reached at the time.

The supervisor is accused of filing false documents, perjury by failing to report income, not recusing himself from voting when he had a conflict of interest and receiving loans from other county employees or those contracted by the county.

Documents filed with the county Department of Agriculture and with Cal Fire could point to guilt, county Auditor-Controller Joe Harn said.

A May 26, 2009 invoice to, from and signed by Nutting for more than $27,000 was “bogus,” Harn said. On a Prop. 40 invoice for a Cal Fire Grant to the Sierra Coordinated resources Management Council, of the nearly $30,000 the project was said to cost, the listed amount for his own labor was $0.

The same invoice also has “Follow up herbicides” on April 15, 2009, the cutoff date for having work completed in order to qualify for the grant, as stated in an amended agreement. But, in a report made to the Agriculture Department, the herbicide spraying was not done until May 26, 27 and 28 — with a map showing the same area sprayed as the area to be covered for the grant. Nutting also obtained a burn permit to burn piles meant to be burned by April 15 for between May 8 and 15.

“I’d be surprised if this wasn’t found to be a false claim,” Harn said of the Prop. 40 grant invoice. “It looks to me to be a false claim.”

On the matter of the illegal loans for his bail, Chuck Holland — the only person Nutting is not alleged to have actually received a loan from — told the supervisor that he could not give him a loan, as he had a contract with the county.

However, as a bail bondsman, he could legally give him bail — which, with a retained attorney, would be 8 percent of the total bail, or about $4,200, Holland said. This money would be non-refundable. But, Nutting wanted to pay cash, rather than going through a bail bondsman, as the money could be refunded, but had to be paid in full. He noted that Nutting was in a hurry to obtain the cash; he was to be arrested that day.

As of Thursday at noon, Kingsbury had not yet reassigned the case.


Cole Mayer

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