Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Nutting lawyer provides explanation

From page A1 | May 10, 2013 | 25 Comments

Local attorney David Weiner took advantage of the Open Forum portion of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday morning to share his legal opinion regarding allegations of wrongdoing by District 2 Supervisor Ray Nutting.

Representing the supervisor, Weiner summarized a large packet of documents at the public podium and concluded that according to the Fair Political Practices Commission, there was “no conflict of interest” related to Nutting’s use of several California state fire prevention grant programs.

Weiner cited a 14-page “Background Research on Nutting Ranch Cost-Sharing Grants” that describes the history of the nearly 700-acre ranch that was homesteaded by a great-grandfather in 1906. Family-owned since that time, Ray Nutting and his brother Tom Nutting have shared ownership of the property since the death of their parents in a plane crash in 1986.

“… the brothers have sought to manage the ranch as a productive forest and to reduce fire risk in the high fire hazard area served by narrow roads and substandard emergency vehicle access,” the document reads in part.

Toward that end, the Nuttings have applied for and been awarded several grants to complete specific tasks directed toward fire suppression and prevention through “vegetation management plans” as defined by the state’s Cal Fire agency, formerly the California Department of Forestry. Two different but related programs offer funding for different activities to different users. They are the California Forestry Improvement Program, known as CFIP, and Proposition 40 grants. The former is primarily funded by timber sale revenues from the state’s demonstration forests.

The latter created a $2.6 billion bond by California voters in 2002 of which about $30 million was earmarked for “forest improvement and wildlife hazard reduction projects designed to reduce fuel loading that poses a threat to watershed resources and water quality.” Due to legal constraints built into the law, Cal Fire could not deliver Prop 40 monies directly to private landowners or entities. Instead, the grants could be made to public or non-profit organizations, which then can administer the grant programs with private individuals. Both grant programs are based on a reimbursement after completion of the agreed-upon scope of work. They are considered “matching fund” grants, 75 percent from the state and 25 percent from the landowner.

The grants at issue were administered through the Sierra Coordinated Resources Management Council, and while Nutting in his role as a county supervisor serves as a representative of the county to that agency, he has no influence on funding decisions, according to the documents presented by Weiner.

Prop 40 funding is coordinated through the Placer County Resource Conservation District. The SCRMC is a joint powers authority representing Amador, El Dorado, Placer counties and several resource conservation districts within those counties. Again, according to the discussion documents, “… SCRMC has delegated its administrative responsibilities to Placer County RCD. Placer County RCD staff administers the program with substantial direction and oversight by Cal Fire.”

Weiner’s documents include a copy of an email from a Placer County RCD staff person. She states that Nutting applied for and was awarded two Prop 40 grants between 2007 and 2012. The invoice for the earlier project was submitted in May 2009. The second project has been partially completed, and a registered professional forester (required under the terms of the grant) has been paid $4,200.

“No invoices have been submitted to SCRMC/Cal Fire for reimbursement to date for the work being performed by Ray Nutting under the terms of the second grant contract,” the document notes.

A legal technicality remains regarding whether or not Nutting should have declared (on a Form 700 Reportable Income document required for public officials) some or all of the revenue received for the 2009 invoice. His attorney advises that because Nutting (in his role as an elected official) had no influence over the awarding of the grants or funds, there was no conflict of interest, within the scope of the FPPC or the Political Reform Act of 1974.

“During one of a series of recent meetings at the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office, Supervisor Nutting learned that the DA’s Office was considering whether Supervisor Nutting should have disclosed the 2009 Cal Fire Prop 40 grant cost-sharing income on his FPPC Form 700,” Weiner’s summary notes. “Mr. Nutting filed an amended statement with the FPPC because of the implication that his disclosure was deficient — not because he believed it was required.”

DA Vern Pierson responded by email Thursday to the Mountain Democrat’s request for information, saying, “No comment due to the ongoing investigation.”

Following Weiner’s presentation Tuesday, several members of the audience addressed the board and expressed support for Nutting. Steve Tyler called Nutting “more public servant than politician” and challenged the implication that Nutting had been involved in an inappropriate “conversion of public funds.”

That term was used by Chairman Ron Briggs in a letter last month which he explained was an effort to “show there’s no funny doings and nothing will be swept under the rug” with respect to the board’s response to the allegations against Nutting. Briggs acknowledged that the letter was his own work and his own opinion and did not necessarily reflect the views of other supervisors.

Contact Chris Daley at 530-344-5063 or Follow @CDaleyMtDemo. 


Discussion | 25 comments

  • 1036-FrankMay 09, 2013 - 12:45 pm

    If there was no wrong doing by Nuttin then why has he "Lawyered up" with at least two law firms I have seen including the one who wrote a previous "Joe Citizen" defense of Nuttin's actions, that he did only what an average citizen could of done. There was also the recent CBS-13 news story and document release. Now the infamous local defense attorney is seen, why is the smell test failing so bad? There are only so many ways to gift wrap a pile of dung and fools aren't being so fooled now. I boil this down to the basics, if Nuttin voted as a public official to provide any benefit or funding to the district he received the funds from, that was a benefit to his property or his or his relatives income, and he didn't abstain from the vote and the BOS minutes will prove or disprove this, then there should be a jury trial coming for the conflict of interest violation along with the disclosure issues.

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  • reallyMay 09, 2013 - 11:34 pm

    It certainly would be sort of ok if the 70k went to fire prevention but we all know Ray is the master of white lies when it comes to his campaign fundraisers all of the money was spent getting Ray elected and his boy John D he also spent quite a bit on Rico Barb and valentine. He wants to be the master in control.

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  • John StevensMay 10, 2013 - 5:53 am

    David Weiner, providing successful criminal defense services to generations of the law abiding challenged as opposed to an attorney who specializes in conflict of interest and FPPC maters. Interesting. Steve Tyler, whose wife is a long time/current employee of the Board of Supervisors speaks in support of Nutting before the Board. Nice. Mr. Daley failed to mention that Linda Colombo, nutting's appointee to the Disaster Council and contract employee of the EDC Fire Safe Council along with Vicki Yorty former long time employee of the EDC fire safe council also spoke in support of Nutting. Nutting's many years of votes to fund the fire safe council with Title III funds paid off again. Shouldn't be too much longer and I'm sure Chris Alarcon will be releasing his political mastermind efforts in defense of Nutting. One would think his own legal troubles involving the misuse of public funds would be keeping him plenty busy. Maybe it will be another Youtube video with those dancing "elf yourself" elves. Starting to wonder if we are all trapped in a twisted reality tv series on backwoods politics. Maybe if we are lucky, Honey Boo Boo and her mama will speak at open forum next Tuesday.

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  • Walking TallMay 10, 2013 - 6:39 am

    Ray claims to be a forth generation resident, but he leaves out the most important fact that in order to be a generation he has to have been born here and that is not the truth. Ray claims that he had no influence on the grants however he leaves out the fact that he voted for and established the County Fire Safe Councils and that his testomy friends (who read statements provided by Ray)all have benefited from his game. Ray says he did nothing wrong but leaves out any documents of his so called billings and payment to a registered forester. Ray says he did nothing in support of the grants however the CFSC minutes state that he did and established additional locals near his ranch to benefit from the grants. Ray says he supports fire safety but provided no such safe fuel removal in is own district only his ranch. Ray was seen giving those all important pep talks to those who came into the BOS's last two meetings to "Rant About Ray" and even one asked if the BOS had a copy of the paper he had given to her. Then there is measure F the Pioneer Fire Department illegal tax that Ray didn't have anything to do with but their minutes say just the oppisite and that benefited Ray and his consultant partners; Chris Dan and Rod but Ray says it isn't so..Well one thing for sure Ray does need an attorney to help him spend all the grant/measure F monies defending what Ray says he didn't do, the most telling fact was out of his mouth when Ray said he took the money and will continue to do doesn't pass the smell test and hasn't for twelve years Ray so what do you say Ray, how about the truth and while we are seeking it how about the fact that Ray doesn't have and has not ever had a business licence for "Ray Nutting Brush Clearing" or "Nutting's Timber Harvest" or any such "County Required License". Then there's the fire permits and timber harvest plans that Ray hasn't ever filed or requested because out of Ray's mouth he "doesn't even know the number to call". So the DA has several felonies that they are investigating and Ray has had several explain to me meetings with the DA. I guess Ray will need his attorney or team of them to help fix this or he will just say it isn't so....

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  • Susie O.May 10, 2013 - 7:30 am

    I'm not here to say yea or nay that Ray has done anything wrong. What I want to know, is why is the Tax Payers Association and the Tea Party not all riled up about these grants of public funds to private individuals to manage their private estates???? As a taxpayer forced to pay the $150 new fire tax, I'm appalled that I am subsidizing someone much richer than I am, so that he can do what he should be doing himself as a land owner. I'm barely making it. If you can't afford to do your brush clearing, land owners, then sell your property! Don't expect the taxpayers to pick up the bill!

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  • 1036-FrankMay 10, 2013 - 7:36 am

    First we had Nuttin himself trying to preempt the situation by leaving his chair and becoming a bizarre "regular" citizen addressing the board. How many citizens have been seen trying to address the board regarding a current investigation of themselves? I can't recall seeing it. Then not only meet with the DA about the investigation of himself, also bizarre, and now send a local notorious criminal defense attorney to address the board all saying "nothing was violated" well when there is no wrong doing people have nothing to worry about and don't usually try this game. What is evident, in my opinion, is an attempt to influence an investigation and spin it. This is one for a jury trial outside the county and out of the political area of the accused.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMay 10, 2013 - 7:38 am

    many grants go to private parties. If you qualify the terms of the grant one is applying is yours. What bothers me more is that non profits are now using public donations for grant writers--without letting the public know where their money is going. Or that groups without 501 c status are taking donations from from people in THIS county.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMay 10, 2013 - 8:15 am

    What happened in the grand jury? How come people keep referring to thr Briggs Family? why did the BOS sign in the New Economy? Why are appointed groups such as the economics groups getting general fund money--while county employees out of the same fund havent had raises in 8 yrs? Why? Why are the people who came forward and went to court about the roundabout being ignored? Grants--interesting. Stockton bankrupt... Detroit Bankrupt...already did this...this item about Ray is being looked at--stop helping people hide the other issues ...or Im bringing back my issues with the library...I want to know how government people are getting away with being snotty to the public. I have watched many vids now--from many different groups==even the economic groups have asked people to leave when they dont want to listen--interesting. Community.

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  • Martin SchumannMay 10, 2013 - 10:00 am

    Ray Nutting is one of the most involved individuals with community activities that I know, in fact out of all the government employees Ray is the first one to come running when you need help. I can’t believe how you can say that he is in conflict of interest when it is a public fund and the only way to get it is to apply for it. I am sure that the form asks what he did for a living. If he received this money illegally the blame should be put on the granters not the grantee, he disclosed his position with the county and should be treated as any other citizen. 700 acres is a huge portion of property and should be treated the same as anyone’s, if it needed fire abatement done and there is help out there to do this why shouldn’t he or any other citizen be illegible for the funds. It seems that there are a lot of jealous people out there that can’t stand the fact that he received something that they didn’t. Ray keep up your devoted community service you have my backing along with many others, don’t let this keep you from your devotion to your job, it will pass.

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  • Walking NormallyMay 10, 2013 - 1:07 pm

    Say "Walking Tall" why don't you just use your real name , LARRY HENNICK, and that way the rest of the folks will understand why you are so down on EVERYONE who deservedly won elections when you lost miserably multiple times.. . . obviously you didn't get the message . . You aren't up to the job and we all know it except you. So let me assist you . . Walking Tall is Larry Hennick, s/b "Walking Small and TALKING Tall" . .

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  • R SmithMay 10, 2013 - 4:54 pm

    Nice try Joe. Who else are you now going to trample on your way to re-election? After all your $200,000 income must be maintained, not to talk about a generous retirement, all from the public trough. It does seem strange that you have excelled in nitpicking that which pleases you, yet for four or five years there was a failure to notice a 1.6 million dollar error in county fire funds that were administered by your office. You are the auditor are you not? I guess nitpicking is the controller part.

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  • EldoradoMay 10, 2013 - 8:35 pm

    When I appeared at Public Forum I was limited to three minutes. He said all that in three minutes?

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  • Do As I Say Not As I DoMay 10, 2013 - 9:36 pm

    Didn't think much could come along that would ever knock the Stormin Norman Busy Bathroon DOH! moment down a few pegs on the TriCounty Walk of Shame Top lList. But here we are....a new Number One. Directly from the Agenda 21 Tea Party Anti Subsidiy Anti Government Anti Regulations (That Don't Serve Me) Anti 'Handout' GunsGloryGod Pull Yourself Up By Your (subsidized) Bootstraps Poster Child of Conservative I Got Mine Values. Nice. Emphasis on the 'servative' there Ray Ray. Good job on the 'con' also. We should be full up now on HYPOCRISY now for another 25 years at least. Maybe Ray's actions will be found passable. Maybe not. Either way, the smell don't change. Another fine example of Talkin the Walk but not Walkin the Talk. What a tool. RESIGN.

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  • GTown WhistlerMay 11, 2013 - 8:26 am

    El Dorado: View the Open Forum video for yourself: *Weiner and Ray together took 4.5 minutes to stage their performance, but Briggs stated "attornys don't get any minutes.* Following public comments drove the point home about GOB politics. Briggs admits his letter (official PRESS RELEASE) was not well worded. Go figure.

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  • AnonymousMay 11, 2013 - 8:58 pm


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  • Phil VeerkampMay 11, 2013 - 9:27 pm

    Anonymous, as a simple matter of family loyalty I resent you slander. Please present even one substantiated bit of evidence that my cousin is corrupt. You give anonymity a bad name. Coward!

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  • Phil VeerkampMay 11, 2013 - 9:41 pm

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  • AnonymousMay 11, 2013 - 10:18 pm

    I can't wait for them to start devouring each other like the Donner Party!

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  • RobertMay 12, 2013 - 10:41 am

    Well Phil, people who live in glass houses shouldn't lob stones. By some of your comments it's apparent you have a penchant for giving the Veerkamp family a bad name.

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  • Jean CareyMay 12, 2013 - 11:17 am

    From what I've seen Ray Nutting is doing a good job representing the people of El Dorado County, and I for one, am glad to say that I voted for him. Has anyone noticed that the people with negative comments on ANY subject never use their real names???? Why do you think you need to hide? If you believe in something you shouldn't feel the need to hide!!!

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  • Martin SchumannMay 12, 2013 - 12:03 pm

    They should make it so that you have to use your real name, a lot of left wingers would be SOL

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  • Jon Anderson, Grizzly FlatsMay 12, 2013 - 10:16 pm

    A few years ago Ray Nutting volunteered to protect out future. Nobody else has stepped up to the plate since then - Doing Ray dirty over some ginned up forest money puts all of us at risk - I don't know about anyone else feels about their future but I want mine protected & I don't care where he was born or any of that claptrap - I voted for Ray then - I will vote for him again before I'll throw in with some hippy or tree hugger.

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  • Real NameMay 13, 2013 - 4:02 pm

    It would be great if we could use our real names. I generally support that. Problem is that there are some folks on this site that are extreme in their vile insults and childish tone. I would not want that person at my door just because I didn't agree with his rhetoric.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netMay 13, 2013 - 9:24 pm

    I use my real name...although I like to be called Fran.

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  • Chris McCaffreeDecember 02, 2013 - 11:19 pm

    The first clue that the charges against Ray Nutting are nonsense is that Joe Harn is also behind it. If you know the real Joe Harn, you would not believe a single word out of his mouth unless it is to help himself stay in power. I would say he is delusional, but he has actually taken what would normally be a somewhat benign position and turned it into being the king of the county through harassment and intimidation. If you can find someone who is not afraid of his wrath, they will tell you the troubling truth about Harn. This prosecution of Ray is purely political because Ray does not cave in to Joe's harassment. Ray is not my supervisor, but if he were, I would vote for him. Wake up El Dorado County citizens and Grand Jury! You are being played!

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