Wednesday, October 26, 2016
[Amador County] Riebe responds to Grand Jury’s HHS report
District Attorney Todd Riebe said that his office has completed its investigation into the 2008 Health and Human Services Building amended lease and had reviewed all evidence compiled by the Grand Jury. The District Attorney’s investigation has uncovered no evidence of criminal misconduct by any Amador County employee or elected official in connection with the HHS Building amended lease in 2008.
The 2015-2016 Amador County Civil Grand Jury had requested the District Attorney’s Office to investigate whether violations of the Brown Act had occurred regarding the March 4, 2008 approval of the HHS Building lease amendment. The Grand Jury’s report suggested both specified and unspecified acts of criminal misconduct that may have been committed by Amador County employees and/or individual members of the Board of Supervisors. Due to these references, the District Attorney’s review expanded beyond the Brown Act inquiry to include the existence of any alleged criminal misconduct committed by any Amador County employees and/or the BOS, which may be presented by the evidence.
The District Attorney’s Office conducted a comprehensive investigation that encompassed the review of thousands of pages of evidence submitted by the Grand Jury, interview transcripts, interviews with county employees, consultation with subject matter experts within the California Attorney General’s Office, consultation with state prosecution experts in ethics and public integrity, and review of California statutory law and applicable case law.
Alleged Brown Act violations were also investigated. Violation of Government Code section 54950 et seq., otherwise known as the Brown Act, must be brought within one year from the date of violation. Prosecutions brought after one year are barred by the statute of limitations and there is no exception. Any alleged violation of the Brown Act committed by the BOS would have had to have been filed on or before March 4, 2009. As no criminal complaint was filed prior to that date, there is no actionable prosecution for any alleged violations of the Brown Act in reference to the HHS Building lease amendment. Although moot, Riebe said the evidence reveals a possible violation of the Brown Act.
In reference to allegations of bribery, misappropriation of public funds, kickbacks, rebates and/or conflicts of interest, Riebe said, “Ethically, before a prosecutor may file criminal charges, they must believe that there exists sufficient evidence to prove each element of each offense to a unanimous jury beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal allegations of misconduct that fall short of that standard have no place in a courtroom.” Based upon his investigation and review of the evidence, Riebe determined that there was no evidence to support the filing of criminal charges for bribery (Penal Code sections, 68 and 165 and Welfare and Institutions Code section 14107.2), misappropriation of public funds (Penal Code section 424), conflicts of interest (Government Code section 1090(a)), kickbacks and rebates (Welfare and Institutions Code section 14107.2), or any other criminal statute. In summary, Riebe stated that “[T]here is no evidence that any Amador County employee or elected official connected with the amended HHS Building lease personally profited, engaged in self-dealing, or otherwise wrongfully gained a financial advantage for themselves or someone else, as would be required to justify the filing of criminal charges.”
“It is no secret that I have publicly endorsed District 4 Supervisor Louis Boitano in his re-election bid,” Riebe added. “I have not let my support for Supervisor Boitano influence my opinion in any way in regard to our investigation and review of the evidence. However, given my support of Boitano, I can understand how some people may question my objectivity. I have advised the 2016-2017 Grand Jury that they have the option of referring their evidence to the Attorney General’s Office for an independent analysis if they choose to do so. If referred, I will cooperate fully with the Attorney General in any review that they may conduct.” Riebe is currently working with the Grand Jury in referring their evidence to appropriate State agencies for review and determination of whether any civil law violations occurred in connection with the 2008 HHS Building lease.
October 26, 2016
Amador Ledger Dispatch
Via press release