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Fiscally Conservative Shasta County Supervisor Candidate Kevin Crye Filed for Bankruptcy in 2012

“You can’t spend your way out of debt,” says square-shouldered crew-cut Kevin Crye on his most recent campaign flier, a large blob of something — sweat, a shadow — blotting the light blue shirt covering his expansive chest.

“Kevin Crye is not a career politician,” the flier states. “He is a small business owner running for Shasta County Supervisor to lead our community with integrity and backbone, especially through the next phase of economic uncertainty.”

Crye’s wife and kids live in the family home in District 4; Crye moved to an apartment in District 1 when he decided to run for the seat being vacated by current District 1 Supervisor Joe Chimenti last November. The carpetbagging candidate faces off against Redding City Councilwoman and Dutch Bros Coffee co-owner Erin Resner in the June 7 primary election.

On the back of Crye’s flier, he claims that during Resner’s tenure on the city council (she’s been on the counsel the past 3.5 years, not five years, as the flier claims), Redding went from a $5 million surplus to a $3.2 million deficit. No actual sources back up the claim. In fact, in a Record Searchlight article about the $1.3 million in city employee raises that Crye’s flier complains about, the daily paper states pretty much the opposite.

“The total cost of the proposed raises for all 88 positions would be approximately $1.3 million, with $670,000 coming from the general fund,” the Record Searchlight reported in January. “There is sufficient budget available for the increase, the city’s staff report says.”

“While the city in 2017 faced a projected budget deficit of $30 million over a 10-year span, Redding is now on strong financial footing, said the staff report,” the story continued. “That’s due to an improving economy, sound fiscal decisions over the years and employees paying more toward their benefits, the report said.”

“I’m unsure which numbers Crye used to explain the deficit he claims,” said Erin Resner, Crye’s opponent in the June 7 primary. “But he’s clearly not reading the current budget or the 10-year plan. I think it’s important to have elected officials who either have a background in managing finances well or they have taken time to properly educate themselves to ensure they have the knowledge necessary to make good decisions with a massive budget.”

Financial background be damned, Crye’s latest flier continues to tear Resner down on the back in all caps:

SHASTA COUNTY NEEDS A SUPERVISOR THAT RESPECTS TAXPAYER DOLLARS.

Detail from Kevin Crye campaign flier.

It certainly does. But is Kevin Crye that supervisor?

Crye’s correct that you can’t spend your way out of debt. He’s learned that the hard way, from experience. You can’t spend your way out of debt, but you can discharge your way out of debt. That’s just what Crye did in 2012 when he filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Klamath Falls, Ore., discharging $120,000 in unsecured debt, apparently after his sporting companies West Coast Outfitters, Upper Hand Athletics, and Basin Basketball Academy hit hard times.

That’s according to bankruptcy documents given to A News Café by an anonymous source. According to the documents, filed in Klamath Falls, Ore., and dated 7/30/12, Crye discharged more than $120,000 in debt, from creditors including Bank of America (2nd Mortgage, $49,588) Union Bank (another 2nd mortgage, $34,333), approximately $20,000 in student loan debt and $11,000 in medical bills.

Before Crye and family moved from Shasta County to Oregon for a teaching job, Crye gained a reputation as a strict high school basketball coach during the 2000s. In addition to coaching high school basketball at Shasta High School, Crye coached the Amateur Athletic Union Shasta Magic. A News Café has received three anonymous statements from parents who complained in 2007 that Crye improperly pressured student athletes to play on his Amateur Athletic Union Magic team, and that he inappropriately contacted players by texts and emails during the day, and talked to players in a mean, belittling way.

Crye was replaced at Shasta High School and has admitted on the campaign trail he’s not fond of teaching at public schools. Now, 10 years after his bankruptcy, Crye has apparently recovered financially, and like many modern entrepreneurs, he has a lot of irons in the fire.

According to Crye’s campaign website, which oddly features prominent links to his latest sporting endeavors, the career personal trainer has morphed into a talent agent with his Valor Talent Group, a gym owner with the Ninja Coalition, located in the Shasta Mall; the CEO and co-owner of Endless Rope, an exercise machine company; and the co-owner of Magic Ninja Dust, liquid hand chalk invented by a gym owner in New Jersey.

Crye’s campaign web page. (Disregard Magic Ninja Dust; Cyre’s not a co-owner.)

Scratch Magic Ninja Dust. A representative from Magic Ninja Dust told A News Cafe that Crye is not a co-owner of the company.

Joseph Maestas, contact person for Axios, manufacturer of the Endless Rope exercise machine based in Wasilla, Alaska, confirmed that Crye is CEO of Endless Rope and praised him for doing a great job.

Three of Crye’s clients from Valor Talent Group — Olympic Diving Gold Medalist Laura Wilkinson, Silver Medalist gymnast and Ninja Warrior Jonathan Horton, and 2021 Olympic gymnast Brody Malone — endorse Endless Rope. Including those three athletes, Crye has 10 clients in his stable, including a professional survivalist, a songwriter, and a life coach, all of whom are apparently available for public speeches and appearances.

How lucrative these businesses are is uncertain. Crye himself has stated the family was moving to Texas or Tennessee in search of more lucrative opportunities before anger about the state’s COVID-19 mandates convinced him to run for District 1 Supervisor, with its annual salary of $50,000, last November.

Kevin Crye declined to reply to this story by deadline.

Redding City Councilwoman Julie Winter knows her budget.

A News Café contacted Redding City Councilwoman Julie Winter, a Resner supporter, to help explain where Crye’s city budget numbers might be coming from.

“The Council has prioritized building reserves and expending on capital,” Winter said.  “The goal has been to have reserves of $10M.  Last year we exceeded that, by a lot.  We voted to spend some of those reserves on capital projects.  So yes, we will spend more than we took in, because we had set some aside (outside our general expenses) to spend.  It would be like you having a $100K annual budget with $40K in your savings.  One year you spend $100k, which matches your income, but one year you spend $140K, because you had set aside an additional $40K from previous years for a new roof.  Did you spend more than you took in that year? Yes. Was it deficit spending? No.”

“Is Mr. Crye saying we should not maintain publicly owned facilities?” Winter continued.  “Would he let our roof cave in? Would he allow the police to have faulty radios?  He’s big on youth.  Would he close the aquatic center instead of repairing it? That’s a place where many of our low-income youth spend their summers. Is he ok with lawsuits from employees or citizens who tripped on failed carpet?”

Winter implied that Mr. Crye was invited to consult with city staff on budget issues but declined to do so.

“I will also point out that Mr. Crye is not only casting aspersions on Resner, but the entire Council, our financial team and our city manager,” Winter said.  “All of it is baseless and slander and could not be further from the truth. I would strongly encourage Mr. Crye to meet with our city financial team so they can explain to him how municipal finances work.

“Resner has competently managed a $300 million city budget that is in excellent shape. She has built a business with 9 stores and over 250 employees. To my knowledge, she has never declared bankruptcy. The same cannot be said for Crye.”

Meanwhile, Crye is allegedly staying four nights per week in his District 1 apartment, as required by election regulations. He has so far not found a family home in Shasta County’s 1rst District.

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R.V. Scheide

R.V. Scheide is an award-winning journalist who has covered news, politics, music, arts and culture in Northern California for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in the Tenderloin Times, Sacramento News & Review, Reno News & Review, Chico News & Review, North Bay Bohemian, San Jose Metro, SF Bay Guardian, SF Weekly, Alternet, Boston Phoenix, Creative Loafing and Counterpunch, among many other publications. His honors include winning the California Newspaper Publishers Association’s Freedom of Information Act and best columnist awards as well as best commentary from the Society of Professional Journalists, California chapter. Mr. Scheide welcomes your comments and story tips. Contact him at RVScheide@anewscafe.com..

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