Attorney General’s Letter Regarding Zogg Fire Settlement Investigation


From left, Shasta County supervisors Tim Garman (District 2), Patrick Jones (District 4), Kevin Crye (District 1) and Chris Kelstrom (District 5)  preside over the May 7, 2024, Board of Supervisors meeting. District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert is away on a medical leave of absence. Photo by Doni Chamberlain

Editor’s note: This post originated as a letter from Jeff Gorder to the Shasta County Board of Supervisors.

Dear Supervisors,

The lack of transparency regarding the handling of the Attorney General’s letter pertaining to the Zogg Fire settlement investigation is disturbing. The public has yet to receive a satisfactory answer as to why the letter was not immediately disclosed when it was received by the County. The only reasonable explanation we’re left with at this time is that there was a decision to bury the letter because of the impact it might have on the March 5 election.

It is undisputed that Supervisor Jones received the letter on or about January 29 and informed Chairman Crye about the letter. Supervisor Crye is on record saying that “he knew CEO Rickert or Patrick told me first about it, and I remember asking what the next step should be.” It is not at all clear who it was that Crye asked “what the next step should be.”

Supervisor Crye’s effort to explain his actions at yesterday’s Board meeting served only to add more uncertainty to the issue. He held up a stack of letters and explained that he receives many letters on a regular basis and inferred that perhaps the Attorney General’s letter regarding the Zogg Fire investigation was part of the deluge and he inadvertently overlooked it (he may also have stated something to the effect of “when he receives a letter from the Attorney General he just disregards it or brushes it aside” but my memory is not clear on that and one would have to look at the recording of the meeting to see what his exact language was). This explanation completely sidesteps the fact that Supervisor Jones specifically told Supervisor Crye about the letter back in January. Supervisor Crye’s failure to bring the letter to light cannot be blamed on the amount of mail he receives on a regular basis.

There are a number of questions regarding this issue that demand further investigation. What did Supervisor Crye do after he was informed by Supervisor Jones that the letter had been received? Who did Supervisor Crye ask “what the next step should be?” Was CEO Rickert informed about the letter on or about January 29, 2024? If CEO Rickert was informed, what was his advice? Why was the existence of the letter not publicized by the County? Why was the letter not forwarded to the D.A.?

Supervisors Crye and Jones made the Zogg Fire settlement a matter of intense public scrutiny and portrayed themselves as the public servants who were bringing to light the potential corruption of the D.A. with regard to the settlement. The fact that they chose not to reveal the existence of the letter that exonerated the D.A. before the March 5 election must be investigated to determine the reason why that decision was made. The only reasonable course of action seems to be the appointment of an outside investigator to look into this issue.

Very Truly Yours,

Jeff Gorder

Guest Speaker

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