A.B.C. – Another Briggs Conflict – Details of Conspiracy Complaint
Continued from Friday – Due to the length and significance of this story, we have put it out as a three part series. Part One: A.B.C. – Another Briggs Conflict – This could cost the County a new Courthouse.
“The Pot Calling the Kettle Black”
This might be the case with Supervisor Ron Briggs, son of former state Sen. John Briggs. On April 26 Ron Briggs was chided about, and then publically retracted, an unauthorized statement that he had unilaterally written on County Letterhead and signed as the “Chairman” of the Board of Supervisors and distributed it on the 25th. In it he wrote, “"ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS IT IS IMPERATIVE FOR THE PUBLIC TO KNOW WE DO NOT CONDONE ANY CONVERSION OF PUBLIC MONEY TO PERSONAL USE, PERIOD. I WILL BE ASKING FOR A SPECIAL BOARD INVESTIGATION INTO MR. NUTTINGS ACTIVITIES." Supervisor Briggs is known to be reactionary, but this knee-jerk reaction was surprising even for him. It was so imprudent that he was forced to retract it in less than 24 hours.
A more cynical observer may have said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” To many people, his excessive public statements sounded scripted and insincere.
On June 24th the Placerville Newsire wrote a story called, “Supervisor Ron Briggs now being investigated for Felony Conflict-of-Interest violations” to which a reader responded, “We're about to turn over a very detailed report on the real estate activities to the new GJ as well as State and Federal officials to investigate.”
Tangentially, another group has been posting in Sacramento area newspapers about Briggs’ properties in, and near, Placerville being foreclosed and sold off. Briggs has commented to some his property’s leasers that it was better for him to give them up that way because they were “Under water.” The group was objecting to Ron Briggs forcing the tax payer’s to cover his bad real estate deals and the money that he never paid to the public utilities for the water bills on the property that he walk away from. Public records substantiate most of these claims.
On July 24th a group calling themselves “El Dorado Taxpayers Group”, (unrelated to the TAXPAYER ASSOCIATION OF EL DORADO COUNTY) sent a letter of complaint to the California Judicial Council Administrative Office of the Courts. The letter that was sent to the agency that is involved with funding the proposed new courthouse and it was received on July 29.
The subject of the letter, “Corruption and Conflicts of Interest in New Court House Project” is about a portion of the property being used by the proposed Court House being owned by Briggs. Not Briggs Junior, but his father, the former state senator John Briggs. The complaint claims that the Senior Briggs is orchestrating a conspiracy involving his son Ron Briggs, and other, to steer unfair advantage to selected politicians, their families, and favored associates.
Here is the full text of the complaint:
From: El Dorado County Taxpayers Group
P.O. BOX 5013, PLACERVILLE, CA 95667
July 25, 2913
To: Administrative Office of the Courts
Judicial Branch Capital Program Of?ce
455 Golden Gate Avenue, 8th Floor
San Francisco, California 94102-3688
SUBJECT: Corruption and Conficts of Interest in New Placerville Court House Project E1 Dorado County, California
As concerned taxpayers of El Dorado County, we want to alert you to the local corruption going on regarding the proposed new court house project in Placerville. The 26.5 acre parcel of land the State is buying a portion of for its court house site from El Dorado County is now owned by former California State Senator John Briggs. An option to purchase has been conveyed to El Dorado County. The parcel will be subdivided and developed into seven commercial parcels per the approved Tentative Subdivision Map, one parcel for the new Court House and ownership of the six remaining parcels will be retained by John Briggs for future sale.
Taxpayers believe that John Briggs is developing the entire project ‘known as Ray Lawyer Commercial Subdivision using a combination of local, see money an Federal Highway government money being funneled through the County government under the ‘guise' of the 'development of a new ‘Court House. The remaining six project parcels and other ‘nearby abutting parcels are held in Ron Briggs and his son’s name will not be required to pay for their normal proportional or equitable share of reimbursement of the heavy master infrastructure improvement costs and off-site improvements totaling tens of millions of dollars. All of the massive development cost is being’ “front loaded” onto the new Court House project and the government is most likely substantially overpaying for the project, infrastructure cost and the speci?c improved Court House building site.
The potential collusion and corruption issue stems around John Briggs son, Ronald V. Briggs who is the current Chairman of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors. While Ron Briggs usually recuses himself from voting on the matter, he has been quite busy behind the scenes making things happen for this project. He often "shows up redevelopment meetings and other meetings pushing the project. He has lobbied for inclusion in and expansion of those redevelopment districts to encompass the project, as well as directing County staff behind the scenes to expedite the improvements. The County engineer in charge of the project recently left on disability stress leave due to the con?icts and pressure. Ron Briggs and his son purchased several nearby parcels of land adjacent to and abutting the 26.5 acre court house site that are also bene?ting from all of these government funded improvements, in essence, they are land speculating with a guaranteed outcome paid for by the taxpayers. Normally, reimbursement agreements would be prepared and the proportional “pro-rate” share of each parcel would be responsible for reimbursing the County for the massive cost of the heavy infrastructure and off-site improvements currently being installed. To date, no such reimbursement agreements exist and as a result, the Briggs are positioned to pro?t handily by millions and millions of dollars due to the Briggs not being required to pay their fair equitable share of the overall development and infrastructure costs. The project would be commercially infeasible and economically unviable without the Stine and Federal highway funds paying for all these improvements, hence, the project doesn’t ?nancially stand on its own. Taxpayers and the State are subsequently getting stuck with the bill. The County has recently given the City of Placerville a $2 million loan to help the nearly broke City pay for some of these heavy highway improvements that the City of Placerville was responsible for, this was also orchestrated by Ron Briggs behind the scenes and the County Auditor, Joe Ham, CPA actually advised the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors against making such a loan to the City of Placerville which later became a gift. It should also be noted that Ron Briggs son, Brian Briggs, a local attorney is the Chairman of the City of Placerville Planning Commission and processed the project through the City under the name Capitol Consultants, Inc. - Briggs old lobbying corporate entity.
The El Dorado County Grand Jury has been asked to investigate these issues and this project twice and boil: times efforts to investigate were prevented. The Grand Jury was until just recently overseen by an El Dorado County Superior Court Judge Stephen Bailey who is also Ron Briggs brother-in-law. The Grand Jury was abruptly disbanded in February 2013 and it was speculated in newspaper articles that the Grand Jury walked out due to it not being allowed to investigate this very issue on the new court house corruption and major financial conficts of interest.
A new E1Dorado County Grand Jury is being formed in July/August, 2013 and will most likely be asked no investigate this matter once again under a new, and hopefully impartial, Judge’s direction during the summer/fall of 2013.
It appears that this site acquisition has been rushed lately to avoid public scrutiny or investigation, but now the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors cannot vote on the project due to con?icts of interest of two supervisors Ron Briggs and Brian Veerkamp and the criminal investigation of Supervisor Ray Nutting, which leaves the Board without a quorum.
As concerned citizens and taxpayers for honest, open and transparent government, and in light of the current Stare budget problems, we request that the State Office of the Courts not fund this site acquisition or any further construction costs until the matter has been fully investigated to be assured there is no illegal activity, misuse of government funds, profiteering, favoritism or impropriety and that taxpayers, the State and Federal Government are not paying for the private real estate development interests of the Briggs family. We have experts from both legal, civil engineering and real estate development background investigating these issues and will forward this extremely detailed report to the local Grand Jury, as well as provide copies to all parties receiving this letter.
EL DORADO COUNTY TAXPAYERS
Edmund G. Brown, Governor of California
Karnela. Harris, Attorney General, State of California
Hon. Tani Ca.ntil~Sakauye, Chief Justice of California
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, California
U.S. Congressman Tom MeClintock, Congressman 4"‘ District
State Senator Ted Gaines, California 4“ District
Honorable Steven Jahr, Adininistrative Director of the Courts
Jody Patel, Regional Administrative Director, AOC
L Willoughby, Director, O?iee of the Court
m Soderlund, AOC Chief Adrninistraizive Of?aer
Curt Child, AOC Chief Operating Officer
Hon. Brad R. Hill, Court of Appeal,Fifth Appellate District
Court Facilities Working Group
V Federal Bureau of Investigation
R. Steven Lapham, Chief, U.S. Attorney‘s Office, Eastern District
... back to this office.” I take this as a direct insult to Supervisor Ron Briggs. Supervisor Briggs has not broken the trust and has always been very ...
Admin - 09/24/2013 - 04:20 - 4 comments
... Image: Image Detail: Supervisor Ron Briggs Supervisor Ron Briggs was outspoken in his attack on ...
Admin - 06/24/2013 - 08:34 - 10 comments
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Admin - 10/04/2013 - 12:17 - 0 comments
... Image: Are cast members, Briggs and Pierson, having a transparency issue? Is it our own “NSAgate?” ...
Admin - 08/22/2013 - 06:24 - 5 comments
... Nutting El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson has filed charges against Supervisor Ray Nutting on four counts ... JUST WAIT UNTIL THE INFO COMES OUT ON SUPERVISOR BRIGGS! Billy_Boy wrote: Chariman of the Board of ...
Admin - 05/29/2013 - 12:37 - 10 comments
... is under way, El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson confirmed last week. “We are aware of it and we are looking ... Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting. Now board chairman Ron Briggs is calling for a special investigation into Nutting’s actions after ...
Admin - 05/16/2013 - 12:29 - 7 comments
... of interest when he voted to fund two fire districts. Vern Pierson disagrees with that conclusion, saying the issue is beyond the scope of ... money, but the revelations have prompted Board Chairman Ron Briggs to consider the adoption of new internal county policies to prevent such ...
Admin - 06/13/2013 - 07:14 - 0 comments
... include: Auditor-Controller Joe Harn; District Attorney Vern Pierson; Supervisor Ron Briggs; Former Sac County Sheriff John McGinness; former Supervisors Rusty ...
Admin - 05/09/2013 - 09:28 - 3 comments