BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Supervisor Leticia Perez has agreed to pay thousands of dollars in fines, perform community service and more in exchange for having criminal charges against her dropped.
The Kern County District Attorney’s Office announced today that Perez has “agreed to the factual basis” of misdemeanor offenses she has been charged with relating to conflict of interest and failed disclosure and has agreed to complete several actions to remediate the issue.
“In this case, the criminal prosecution has successfully achieved our goals of ensuring that Supervisor Perez is not permitted to profit from the conflict of interest she engaged in,” District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said. “Moreover, today’s resolution requires clear admissions to the facts underlying the charges, ensuring that voters can make educated choices about the Supervisor’s actions. In addition, the resolution provides both punishment and rehabilitation measures to ensure future compliance with ethics laws.”
Perez will need to pay $30,000 in penalties to local charity organizations focusing on homeless abatement and/or drug rehabilitation. The payment aims to counteract financial payments given to Perez’s husband, Fernando Jara, for his work promoting the cannabis industry prior to Perez’s participation in a 2017 vote involving a cannabis ordinance.
Perez will also need to pay a $4,000 fine to the Fair Political Practices Commission as well as perform 100 hours of community service.
Perez also needs to complete an ethics course conducted by the California Institute for Local Government as well as amend previously filed financial disclosure forms covering 2016 and 2017 to reflect income Perez and Jara received from the cannabis industry during those years.
If the supervisor completes these actions within a year and can provide proof of their completion, the DA’s Office said it will dismiss its case against Perez.
If the actions aren’t completed in time, the office said it will move forward with a criminal trial.
The DA’s Office said it will consider dismissal of the case in as early as six months if proof can be shown that all of the actions have been completed.
Perez’s lawyer, H.A. Sala, said his client has decided to provide the $30,000 to the Bakersfield Homeless Center and that she will also be serving her required community service at the center.
“We are entirely confident that all conditions will be satisfied and that the charges will be dismissed,” Sala said. “Supervisor Perez is cognizant of her ethical duties and responsibilities and will continue to serve the residents of Kern County with distinction.”