578

Victims, Classmates, Parents, County Staff Reveal Supervisor Kevin Crye’s Dark, Devious, Demented Side

Kevin Crye. Photo source: Anderson High School yearbook.

It’s been more than 30 years since teenage Kevin Crye participated in an alleged sexual assault of a female classmate. The incident happened at a pool party attended by many other Anderson High students. According to the victim, she and Crye were a year apart in school.

She was wearing a one-piece bathing suit.

Before the assault, before joining her friends in the pool, she’d gone into the house to use the bathroom. When finished, she opened the door to leave. She said Crye and another boy were there, waiting for her.

“They pushed open the door and forced their way in,” she recalled. “Then they pushed me down onto the floor. It was a small bathroom. Kevin was the main aggressor. We struggled; they trying to get my bathing suit off, and I trying to keep it on. After what seemed like a long time – but was probably only a minute or two – they gave up. It was all quiet. I was so embarrassed. I got up off the floor, and the other boy tousled my hair roughly before they both walked out.”

Crye’s alleged victim didn’t report the assault to the police, school officials, her parents, or even her best friends.

“We were conditioned to keep these things secret back then,” she said. “I never told anyone until recently.”

That teenage girl grew up and left Anderson. She started a family and a new life far from the memory of what happened in that bathroom. She said the traumatic memories were especially haunting during her remaining years in Anderson, when a particular business reminded her of the last name of the boy she’d fought off as he tried to strip her naked.

“I thought about it every time I walked past Hue & Cry in Anderson by the bowling alley.”

Now a grown woman, Crye’s alleged victim came forward with her story after she learned Crye was a candidate for Shasta County District 1 Board of Supervisors. To protect the victim, A News Cafe declined her offer to reveal her identity in this story.

The reason the victim broke her silence about the alleged assault was she was desperate that the public was aware of the real Kevin Crye, for the sake of her hometown and Shasta County.

She’s not alone. Others have come forward with their own recollections about Crye at various times in his life, and a desire to reveal his true nature.

Student Crye: cheater, shyster, manipulator

Anderson High School senior Kevin Crye. Photo source: Anderson High School yearbook.

For another Anderson High School classmate, Crye was unforgettable for several other reasons.

“Kevin was memorable because our class sizes at Anderson were fairly small,” she said. “He was a big personality; loud and obnoxious. I was a very shy person who tended to just sit back and observe everyone. I still tend to be that way. So I often remember people who never noticed me.”

The shy classmate recalled firsthand knowledge of how Crye cheated on homework and tests.

“He was a year ahead of me, but behind in several subjects, and so we had a few classes together,” she said. “I was in a math class with him, and they had us all working in small groups of three or four with our desks pushed together. He never did his homework, and would usually race in right before class and then grab mine to copy. And he was constantly cheating off my quizzes and tests. I was somewhat afraid of him. He’d be friendly to get what he wanted, but there was always this edge to him. Even back then he was kind of a shyster, always trying to work some kind of angle that would benefit him — a bit like Eddie Haskell, but not as likable. Teachers used to roll their eyes a lot whenever he was mentioned. I can’t recall him being part of any friend group.”

If that description sounds familiar — cheating, taking others’ work as his own, being nice just long enough to get what he wanted — review these two videos where Crye is being interviewed by a pastor who asks for the secret to Crye’s success.

Young Crye’s revenge

Anderson High School football player Kevin Crye. Photo source: Anderson High School yearbook.

Many of Crye’s high school photos depict him posing with various sports teams, such as football and soccer.

Kevin Crye, center, top row. Photo source: Anderson High School yearbook.

However, the shy girl recalls one exception.

“There are no pictures of him on the baseball team because he was big and slow, and didn’t make the team due to that, combined with a terrible attitude,” she said.

“As revenge, he got his umpire certification and would then officiate Anderson high games where he would make unfair calls against the school and get into arguments with the coaches and eject them from the game. These coaches were his teachers at the time. I saw this happen three times. He’s always been an ass, and he used to cheat off people’s homework, including mine. He was taking basic Algebra as a senior. Not exactly a scholar.

“I always thought it took an amazing amount of ego to bait your teachers into an argument so you can throw them out of a game,” she said. “I suppose it was an early example of his vindictiveness.”

Parents join forces, dump Coach Crye

Kevin Crye, former Shasta High School girls basketball coach.

Crye carried his formative years’ love of sports into adulthood where, among his coaching jobs, he coached Shasta High School girls basketball. It didn’t take long before students and parents alike noticed some of Crye’s patterns and behaviors that they found disturbing. Eventually a group of upset parents took their complaints to the school administrator. Not long after the parents aired their complaints about Crye, a credentialed school teacher and well-respected coach stepped up and said he wanted that coaching position. Because the credentialed teacher had seniority, he got the job. Crye was dismissed.

A partial list of the parents’ complaints included:

  • Pressured players to play while injured.
  • Used position of authority to intimidate and humiliate players.
  • Pressured girls to play only basketball, stating that if a player is playing another sport, then he will have more time for the remaining basketball players who he will help improve and play more.
  • Players who did choose to play a second sport were treated differently, such as not being able to start games, or they might end up playing less.
  • Pressured girls to play AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball to improve opportunities to play on Shasta High School’s teams.
  • Inappropriately contacted and pressured middle-school-age girls and parents through direct contact, emails and possibly text messages to play on one of the AAU Wolfpack basketball teams, stating that it would enhance  students’ ability to play on the Shasta High School teams.
  • Inappropriately shared information with players about other players who may have communicated concerns to Crye, or whose parents communicated concerns to him. This resulted in players and parents being pitted against one another regarding who was “in” and who was “out”
  • Held fundraisers before team members had tried out and/or had been selected for the team. In once instance, 14 girls were planning to try out for the varsity team, and yet Crye announced several times before the dinner auction fundraiser that he was only keeping 12 players.
  • Put pressure on girls whose parents were not actively fundraising, causing some parents to classify the fundraising as “coercive”.
  • Showed favorite students and parents preferential treatment, while snubbing those parents and students who’d fallen out of favor with Crye.
  • Inappropriately contacted players by texts and emails during the school day.
  • Sent a Sunday email one day before tryouts that said, “If your blue card was not turned in Friday, don’t bother coming out Monday” — knowing full well that two returning senior players had not turned in their blue cards. Other girls who were trying out knew who had turned in their blue cards. Although Crye allowed the two senior girls to attend the first day of tryouts, Crye singled them out and subjected them to a grueling afternoon of Crye treating the girls as if he was on the outs with them.

Two additional complaints regarding young female athletes, although not on the Shasta High parents’ formal list of grievances against Crye, were even more damning:

  • Crye was allegedly seen by a parent at an upscale Redding restaurant dining alone with one of his female athletes. When the parent asked why Crye and the student were there, Crye replied that he was rewarding the student for her good behavior.
  • At an away game during down time, students were at a mall that included a lingerie retail store. Crye allegedly asked a teen athlete to try on and model lingerie so he could see and decide what to buy his wife for a gift.
Crye on the crooked campaign trail

Dist. 1 Supervisor Kevin Crye.

Crye’s behavior while campaigning for the District 1 supervisor seat foreshadowed the kind of supervisor Crye would ultimately reveal himself to be.

During one of his first speeches during the public comment period at a supervisors meeting, Crye claimed that not only was he friends with then-District 1 Supervisor Joe Chimenti, but he’d actually campaigned for Chimenti.

When A News Cafe contacted Chimenti for confirmation of Crye’s statements, Chimenti gave two denials. First, Chimenti said that he and Crye were not friends. Second, Chimenti said Crye had not campaigned for him.

When Crye first announced his candidacy, Crye flat out lied when he claimed he lived in District 1. In fact, he and his family lived in what he described during public comment as his wife’s recently remodeled “dream home”. What he didn’t mention at the time was the Crye family home was actually in District 4, Supervisor Patrick Jones’ district.

Chimenti’s failure to claim Crye as a friend is reminiscent of a lead photo on the Vote Kevin Crye Facebook page of a grinning Congressman Doug LaMalfa and Crye. Crye had often bragged publicly of his and LaMalfa’s close ties, and that LaMalfa was in full support of Crye.

But when A News Cafe contacted Mark Spannagel, LaMalfa’s chief of staff, to confirm that LaMalfa was in in fact in full support of Crye, his response looked as if he’d misunderstood the question:

“Congressman LaMalfa opposes allowing Gavin Newsom appointing [sic] anyone, especially in Northern California,” Spannagel texted back.

No mention of Crye whatsoever.

One of the most stunning — now ironic — turnarounds of all had to do with Crye’s campaign statements about rumors of “dark money” and outside influence, which is how Crye justified traveling to meet Reverge Anselmo in person, to “ask questions”.

In December, Anselmo donated $117,059.74 to the “Stop Newsome — sic — No on Crye Recall” via Anselmo’s financial campaign money conduit, the Water Users Committee.

While campaigning for the supervisor position, Crye did not contain his extreme disdain for Erin Resner, the woman who routinely came across at forums and debates as better prepared, more poised and more informed.

Then-candidate Kevin Crye stares ahead as Erin Resner speaks. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

During one forum where Resner referred to notes as she spoke about complex data, Crye mocked her for bringing notes. This admission would come as no surprise to Crye’s former classmates and teachers.

At one point in Crye’s campaign, every District 1 voter received a mailer that included a sinister looking photo that erroneously suggested Resner’s Dutch Bros Coffee businesses were infested with flies, rodents and roaches, a false, dirty political move that resulted in a cease and desist letter to Crye from Resner’s attorney. But even so, by then the damage had been done and many Crye supporters believed the lie and turned against Resner.

Perhaps the most damaging nail in Resner’s campaign coffin was the day she agreed to appear with Crye on conservative talk show radio host Carl Bott’s program for a debate between the two District 1 candidates. Bott laid down the ground rules; that candidates should stick to issues and solutions. Resner adhered to Bott’s rules. But when it was Crye’s turn to respond, Crye didn’t address issues or solutions, but tore into Resner with personal slams and verbal jabs at every opportunity, attacking “my opponent” left and right. Crye controlled the debate. Bott did not intervene to stop Crye, who treated Resner like a political punching bag.

During the break — which was not recorded — Resner lost it and yelled at Crye. She allegedly said something to the effect of she would punch him in his “effing” face.

The timing was golden, because Crye’s assistant Carolyn Gomes was sitting outside the studio where she heard the exchange and promptly broadcast it across social media.

Kevin Crye and Erin Resner both campaigned for the District 1 supervisor seat. Resner lost to Crye by 90 votes.

Many North State election insiders believe that the volatile radio interview contributed greatly to Resner losing to Crye by just 90 votes.

But before Crye won the election, he participated in several debates and forums where his answers sometimes left the audience dumbstruck, such as this statement where Crye spoke of his departed brother’s bad decision that led to his ultimate death.

“You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes,” Crye said.

The shy girl who attended Anderson High School with Crye remembered fondly Crye’s younger brother, who died in the crash Crye mentioned during a debate. She described Crye’s brother as smarter, funnier, more athletic and genuinely more likeable and charming than his older brother, Kevin Crye.

“People really loved him,” the shy classmate said of the younger Crye brother.

Supervisor Crye’s public lies

Of course, Crye did win the election, and took the oath of office to become Shasta County’s District 1 supervisor. A lifetime of Crye’s worst personality traits quickly came home to roost in his supervisor job.

Once Crye was targeted for recall, he traveled across the country and throughout California campaigning against the recall. Crye’s faith-family-flag-country shtick appealed to duped folks outside Shasta County who believed the fantastical lies about the snowflakes trying to get rid of poor, poor innocent Crye.

He’s appeared on podcasts, talk shows, network interviews and at freedom festivals where he preached the gospel of lies that claimed he was being beaten up and recalled by a bunch of evil liberals who hated God, country, flag and family.

Of course, all that was a lie, as was Crye’s claim that Governor Gavin Newsom wanted to replace Crye with a Democrat.

By the way, Crye’s misleading anti-Kevin Crye recall ads were paid for by Anselmo — aka The Water Users Committee.

The truth was that Crye was being recalled because it was quickly apparent to concerned citizens that Shasta County was circling the drain, thanks to the extremist board majority. Although technically, Jones was then the chair, Crye was identified as the lynchpin who exhibited the biggest ego, the poorest judgement and worst impulse control of nearly any supervisor in Shasta County history.

Up and down the state and across the nation Crye delivered variations of the same speech over and over and over.

After nearly every event or speech, Crye wrapped things up with a somber expression before saying something shmaltzy like, “People ask me how they can help, and I tell them, first, my family and I are under attack and we need your prayers. Second, if you want to help me, send money.”

Cha ching. 

Like a TV evangelist preaching to gullible old ladies with barely two nickels to rub together, thanks to new friends like Lindell, Crye’s victim-based sob story and his pitch to send money went viral. Gosh, with enough checks arriving from all over the country, a guy could easily pay cash for a nearly $700,000 home, which is exactly what Crye did recently. Imagine how difficult it would be to account for thousands of private checks arriving from around the country. Who’d be the wiser about how much richer Crye has become thanks to his requests of prayers and money?

Crye was up to his slick tricks of deception from the get-go, such as when he hosted a town hall meeting that included planting a friend — Susan Taylor — to pitch a set-up, softball question. To watch the video is to see a study of deception in real time. You can see Crye feign not knowing the woman, when the truth is they’re friends, and she even hosted a campaign fundraiser for Crye in her home.

Much has been written about Crye’s obvious missteps, manipulations and blatant deceptions and numerous red flags since he took office: He and the board majority ditched the county’s Dominion voting system. He charged the county to install a PacMan machine in his office. He collaborated with MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell – sometimes texting Lindell during board meetings, even during votes, and charged the county to fly across the country for Lindell-related meetings the public have never specifically heard about, beyond that he met with legislators and other important people. He brought a bevvy of national election deniers to Shasta County, from Doug Frank to Clint Curtis.

Plus, although Chriss Street, Crye’s selection for the CEO application process, didn’t get the job, Crye has obviously continued consulting with Street as he parrots Street’s talking points, sometimes to the exact number: $1.85 per hand-counted vote, for example.

Crye remembers all, punishes all

District 1 Supervisor/Chair Kevin Crye.

During one board of supervisors meeting, Crye mocked the BMI of a frequent public speaker (Susanne Baremore, who’s running for a seat on the board). Baremore’s biggest offense — what may have given Crye justification for going after Baremore with such a cruel personal blow — was she dared to routinely criticize Crye during the public comment period.

Despite having a lifetime of experience telling one lie after another, when it comes to Crye’s success at concealing lies, practice has not made perfect. Crye often stumbles when caught in a lie, looking no more convincing than a kid with powdered sugar around his mouth as he claims to have not eaten a cookie.

Crye’s pattern of mean retaliation reemerged when Judy Salter — arguably one of Shasta County’s most prominent and well-respected community dynamos — approached Crye to discuss the concept of a charter county.

Judy Salter is a frequent speaker at Shasta County Board of Supervisors meetings.

Salter said Crye verbally attacked her. Knowing what we know about Crye, it’s no surprise Crye ripped into Salter when he had the chance because Salter has been an unabashed critic of Crye’s bad decisions and poor leadership. Plus, she’s a member of the Recall Kevin Crye committee.

 

Crye’s well-honed style of dressing down and humiliating strong, confident women is so effective that like Resner, even if Crye had pushed someone like Mother Theresa long enough, no doubt even she’d explode and threaten to punch him in his effing face.

Almost from the moment Crye’s creased slacks hit his supervisor seat, Crye routinely targeted three of the county’s highest-level female leaders: District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett, Registrar of Voters Cathy Darling Allen, and District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert.

As one county insider put it, if Stephanie Bridgett was a Stephen instead of Stephanie, Kevin wouldn’t go after the DA the way he does.

Chair dictator

Now that Crye is the board chair, he’s gone into full on DEFCON dictator mode. His first week of chair was reported here, as well as in the Northstate Breakdown by Benjamin Nowain.

By the second meeting Crye implemented an authoritarian razor wire-and-carrot stick behavior modification method of dealing with citizen Christian Gardinier, who’s known to stand and hold signs to alert the board when speakers — or supervisors — have veered beyond county jurisdiction.

The board majority sits mutely by as speaker after speaker launches into topics far from county authority, seemingly blind and deaf to protests from the audience, and especially Gardinier’s signs that point out the obvious violations.

Christian Gardinier holds a sign noting the lack of board jurisdiction as Patty Plumb speaks, including comments calling Supervisor Tim Garman the “Pillsbury Dough Boy”.

To control Gardinier, new board chair Crye suddenly implemented a new rule where he would grant extra time to speakers if Christian stood with the signs behind them as they spoke. The same was true if someone from the audience made a noise of protest or exasperation, after which Crye would order the clerk of the board to grant more time to the speaker, or even restart the clock.

At a recent meeting, Crye said that Gardinier’s actions said a lot about him as a person, perhaps hoping to shame Gardinier into submission and obedience.

In effect, Crye had perfected the art of shutting people down and shutting them up or they’d face swift punishment.

Heil chair Crye!

In one bizarre childish move at the Jan. 30 meeting, some speakers — who’d known the order in which they’d submitted public comment cards — discovered that Crye was shuffling the deck of cards to his own liking, out of the order with which they were received by the clerk of the board.

More control for Crye, less security and fairness for the public.

Even as recently as during yesterday’s board of supervisors meeting, Crye wasted precious time and dragged out a seemingly benign discussion about an upcoming employee appreciation picnic. Crye droned on about mundane minutia and details — “Hey, I can get a band!” — a far cry from the agenda item’s original intent. At one point, Crye excitedly singled out and needled Rickert in what appeared a thinly veiled attempt to make her look flustered and foolish. Crye’s sudden fixation on what Rickert should do for the picnic followed District 2 Supervisor Tim Garman’s offer to donate a gift basket, and District 5 Supervisor Chris Kelstrom’s promise to contribute some of Kelstrom’s famous peanut brittle. District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones chuckled and asked if they’d like him to donate a gun to the event.

No, hell to the max no.

That’s when a smirking Crye turned to Rickert — as if they were friends — and suggested that hey, since she’s in the ag business (she’s a rancher), she could organize and oversee a petting zoo at the picnic for the kids. Rickert laughed and tried to deflect. She told Crye that bulls don’t do well in petting zoos. He pressed on, saying he knew she had connections and she could make it all happen. Easy!

Remember the shy classmate who described Crye as Eddie Haskell? Crye’s petting zoo stunt to corner Rickert into a manipulated difficult situation was a classic Haskellesque move.

Crye pushed his Rickert-led petting zoo idea, despite knowing that he’s given her the most board assignments, which means Rickert has the least amount of free time of all the supervisors. Plus, he’s aware that Rickert, who supervisors the biggest district in the county, lives 80 miles  from Redding.

Compare and contrast: It’s A-OK for Kelstrom to donate a modest tin of peanut brittle, and yes please to Garman’s gift basket, perhaps containing a hand-hewn wood cutting board, but Crye expected Rickert to orchestrate an entire dang petting zoo. Why? Because Crye said so. Setup. Score. Crye wins. Rickert loses.

It’s similar to the way Crye continues to publicly pester Rickert during his board report to be a guest on his radio show. After all, other supervisors have accepted that invitation. Sure, but Crye doesn’t make a sport of relentlessly mistreating and humiliating the other supervisors. (Although Crye does attack Garman periodically, especially if Garman has challenged Crye.)

No sane person, after being publicly belittled, tormented, dismissed and disrespected meeting after meeting by Crye would accept an invitation on Crye’s radio show. Crye knows that. But he appears to derive sadistic jollies from putting Rickert on the spot and watching her squirm.

Another one of Crye’s recent mean-boy moves of retaliation was when he assigned Rickert to a legal board previously held by retired public defender Jeff Gorder.

Jeff Gorder, former Shasta County public defender and current co-leader 0f the Recall Kevin Crye committee.

In one fell swoop Crye accomplished a two-fer payback against two people he can’t stomach: Rickert and Gorder. He could order Rickert to work on a committee that she had no desire or inclination to join, and punish Gorder by removing him from a position he enjoyed and had decades of expertise. Double hitter!

Why, pray tell, would Crye want to punish Gorder? Because Gorder is one of the leaders of the Recall Kevin Crye committee, someone who has repeatedly called Crye and Jones out on the carpet for their colossal mistakes and perpetual legal blunders.

Much of what’s been written about Crye covers all the bonehead moves he’s made in public.

But perhaps his most damaging personal actions as supervisor happen away from public view where he targets staff members who don’t see eye to eye with him; women in particular. Because of the stress and toxicity that Crye brings to the county’s highest-level offices, many employees have abandoned their county careers to accept other jobs away from Crye’s bullying, interference, sarcasm and sexism.

The most serious staff criticisms of Crye — sexism, sexual harassment, intimidation, threats, gender discrimination and fomenting a hostile work environment — have been reported to the county’s human resources department.

County insiders confirm that as a result of those reports, Crye and at least one other supervisor are under third-party investigation. At least one former employee is pressing charges against Crye for undisclosed allegations and damages. At least one is out on a stress-related leave of absence.

The investigation into the complaints has dragged on for months, with no resolution in sight.

But in a Catch-22 situation, the investigation’s findings may ultimately end up backfiring on the whistleblowers, as they may end up being reviewed by not just the county counsel, but the entire board. For several reasons this possibility horrifies the deeply discontented employees who summed up the courage to seek help from human resources. They’re tormented by the realization that some of the supervisors reading the investigation’s findings are the very supervisors whose behaviors triggered the complaints in the first place. Furthermore, the whistleblowers have been told that there’s no guarantee of confidentiality, which means their names will be known to the supervisors and county counsel. Finally, the complainants are also aware that the county’s upcoming new counsel — Joseph Larmour — is in a romantic relationship with one of Crye’s friends, who happens to work for him.

All those factors and more have caused them to doubt the possibility of an objective investigation with real consequences.

Their list of their grievances about Crye is long. Some allegations bear an eerie resemblance to the parents’ complaints about coach Crye, and also student Crye.

In no particular order, staff and public complaints include:

  • Some department heads are so fed up with Crye consistently hogging multiple hours of their staff’s time on a regular basis that they will not allow Kevin access to their staff.
  • When Crye does converge upon a department and demand everyone stop everything and give Crye their undivided  attention, staff is held captive as he talks in circles, rambles and often doesn’t have a point.
  • Crye treats county employees as if they work for him exclusively. He expects them to be at his beck and call to answer any questions any time, look up any obscure piece of information, and chase down every single thing that pops into his head.
  • Crye asks staff personal questions about everything from their spouses, children and their children’s schools, to politics, the recall and even their religious beliefs and places of worship. According to one former staff member, Crye had a way of bringing up personal information at work that gave her the “heebie-jeebies”.
  • One former key staff member’s team members made a pact that if she were trapped with Crye behind closed doors for a certain amount of time, out of concern for her welfare — and the sketchy impression it left — they’d knock and intervene with an excuse of something pressing she needed to leave and take care of.
  • Crye has been known to conduct his private business from the dais, sometimes having county staff act as the intermediaries between Crye’s assistant and county clerks.

Crye’s assistant Caroyn Gomes frequently approaches the dais during breaks to bring Crye papers to review and sign. She’s also passed along papers during board meetings to the board clerks, and insisted they give them to Crye.

  • Crye often fails to mention conflicts of interest in crucial board decisions, such as the fact that his county counsel recommendation —  Joseph Larmour — was in a romantic relationship with one of Crye’s top Ninja Coalition employees. Likewise, he failed to disclose when considering hiring Dr. James Mu as health officer that Mu had contributed to Crye’s campaign. At the meeting before last, Crye failed to disclose a peep of personal ties before or after Nigel Skeet’s random confusing presentation that promoted Skeet’s Shasta Chamber of Commerce venture. Not only did Crye fail to mention that the men are friends, but Skeet works for Crye, and is even given credit at the end of  Crye’s video, “Kevin Crye, the Inspiring Road to Victory“. Skeet is also a photographer, who’s captured many Crye photos. (Full disclosure: This reporter’s photo was also taken by Skeet.)

  • Crye makes personal comments about female employees’ degree of attractiveness, and observations about their bodies, both in terms of being overweight or underweight, or just right.
  • Crye doesn’t conceal what several staff members referred to as “leering” — openly staring at female employees’ bodies, especially as they walk away.
  • A current county employee recalled an exchange that sickened her between Crye and a former female employee who’d rushed into a meeting holding a donut. When Crye questioned the woman’s food choice, she explained it was because she’d not eaten anything all day and needed the calories. Crye asked if she’d pulled the donut from the trash, and then said — within earshot of multiple colleagues — something to the effect of, “Yeah, we all know you’ll go throw it up afterward.”
  • Crye touches some female staff members, bumping, nudging, and even poking their stomachs.
  • Crye has violated county policies by showing up at some county work sites and directing county employees about their duties.
  •  If Crye believes a staff member does not agree with him, or doesn’t demonstrate an allegiance to him, he barks orders, and ignores input.
  • The work environment is one of fear and extreme stress. One employee said that her staff members have confided that when they arrive at work, if they see Crye’s vehicle, they literally feel sick and don’t want to go to inside.
  • Crye often boasts that he attends the new-employee orientations to introduce himself to new hires. Crye is also a frequent visitor to the county’s personnel office, where he hangs out in the waiting room and chats up new employees in a way that one staff member said resembled grooming. “It’s creepy,” she said.

One former employee, who was privy to Crye’s unprofessionalism personified, and frequently saw his darkest, most dysfunctional side, described some of the most troublesome Crye behaviors that she and other employees — mainly women — experienced.

She said Crye’s way of treating/mistreating and dealing with employees fluctuated wildly depending upon whether they could convince Crye that they were “on his team” or not. She said that those who had differing opinions, or who pushed back, did so at great personal peril, because they’d receive Crye’s predictable negative treatment, much as he treated female athletes who displeased him.

“He was always trying to set us up for failure,” she recalled. “He’d sabotage us. He treated us like pawns. Every day we’d go to work and it was like our own boss would light us on fire. You can’t perform at a top level when someone is attacking you from all sides.”

That boss — that someone — is Supervisor Kevin Crye.

She said she took her complaints not just to HR, but the CEO, but nothing changed.

“What’s the point in reporting anything if it’s just going to the board?” she asked, noting that it’s no wonder other employees won’t come forward.

Who supports Crye?

One indication that the public is increasingly getting wise to the real Crye is that even his most ardent former supporters have vanished.

For the most part, Crye’s increasingly dwindling number of remaining supporters consists of a ragtag motley crew of  people who are renowned for extremist statements and behaviors.

Nary a moderate person speaks words of support during the public comment period to defend Crye. In fact, during a recent Recall Kevin Crye rally before the board meeting, one of the lone signs against Crye’s recall was held by Jon Knight.

Jon Knight holds a sign against the Kevin Crye recall. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

Knight’s recently most well-known as someone whose uneducated, conspiracy-laced public comments about the Japanese arming mosquitos with syringes went viral, and was roundly discredited and ridiculed, once again making Shasta County the political laughing stock of the West.

Jon Knight, endorsed by Crye as a Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control board appointee, holds one of the lone “No on Crye Recall” signs at a recent Recall Kevin Crye rally outside the board chambers. Photo by Doni Chamberlain.

Another woman who buckled under Crye’s domineering, controlling management style said she’s gone on to greener pastures. Since then, she’s had time to reflect upon her time with the county. She often wonders if she could have — should have — handled things differently.

“I’m older and wiser now,” she said. “At the time, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want to make a scene.”

She added that although she wishes a stampede of former and current county employees would blow the whistle on Crye and Jones in particular, she understands their reluctance. She said the fear factor is real: Fear of retaliation. Fear of being revealed. Fear of lies being told about them, and of being called liars.

She said Crye constantly brags about how well-connected and influential he is. She said many county workers are afraid that if they tell the truth of what a nightmare it is to work at the county — and with Crye in particular — that they’ll be branded as trouble-makers; that their reputations will be so damaged that they’ll have difficulty finding other work.

For her, she’s looking forward and putting the trauma of working for Crye behind her.

“I haven’t looked back,” she said, but then admitted she grieves the loss of what looked like a promising career. She figures she’s at the anger stage of grief.

She’s angry to watch Crye talk as if he’s a great leader, when the fact is that many employees — and department heads in particular — avoid him. She’s angry to watch the exodus of quality employees flee the county, taking with them institutional knowledge and expertise. Personally, she’s angry for all the years she invested in a job she thought would see her through for the rest of her career. She’s especially angry that she couldn’t protect her team from Crye.

“I thought I could handle it,” she said. “I couldn’t.”

Finally, there’s one former employee who’s of two minds. On the one hand, she remains bothered that she lacked the courage to sign the petition to recall Crye while she was still working at the county. She and other many other county employees wanted very much to sign the petition, but they didn’t dare for fear there’d be hell to pay if Crye found out.

But on the other hand, she sees the March 5 recall election as a grand opportunity to rid Shasta County government  of the man who made her and her colleagues’ lives so unbearable that they resigned from jobs they previously loved.

Meanwhile, like the teenage girl Crye allegedly assaulted in a pool party bathroom more than 30 years ago, a current Shasta County employee who’s on the verge of giving notice wants the public to know the real Kevin Crye, and vote accordingly.

“Kevin is an imposter who’s fooled and hurt a lot of people,” she said. “But people aren’t as stupid as Kevin thinks. I hope they wake up and recall him before he can do any more damage.”

###

If you appreciate journalist Doni Chamberlain’s reporting, please consider a donation to A News Cafe. Thank you.

Doni Chamberlain

Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

578 Comments
Newest
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments