A county supervisor ran in to many fire-related problems over the past year, including losing control of burn piles and a subsequent court case.
After charges from the District Attorney’s Office, a Grand Jury indicted Ray Nutting on counts of filing a false document, perjury by declaration, another filing of a false document and failure to recuse oneself from voting in a potential conflict of interest. Charges had also been filed related to loans Nutting received to pay for the initial bail from the DA’s charges.
The charges came from fire grants for Nutting’s property in Somerset between 2000 and 2009. He also allegedly voted to increase funding to the El Dorado Resource Conservation District and the Georgetown Resource Conservation District, about $80,400 each, on June 30, 2010 — money which would be used to fund the same grants he, in part, received. A letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission of California, Nutting said, showed there was no conflict of interest and that the money Nutting received for grants was not connected to money he voted on. A letter to Nutting from Katie Maloney of the Placer County Resource Conservation District also states there is no direct connection to Nutting’s vote.
Nutting said he believes the charges to be political. He claims the politics stem from Auditor-Controller Joe Harn and District Attorney Vern Pierson backing another candidate for sheriff than he did; and Nutting previously pointing out that Harn is “grossly overpaid,” as he is the fourth highest-paid county auditor in the state, according to the California State Controller’s Office Website.
An appeal to the Third District Court was denied in November — just a few days before more fires broke out on Nutting’s property.
On Nov. 22, 2013, five acres burned. Four fires were started from burn piles. Nutting’s account and Cal Fire’s report do not entirely match; Nutting claimed that no trees burned while Cal Fire firefighters noted trees had fire in them. The speed of the spread of fire was also disputed.
Nutting will appear in Department 2 on Jan. 10 at 1:30 p.m. for a readiness and settlement conference.