Prosecutors prepare to take action in Kern supervisors investigation

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County prosecutors are preparing to take action in a months-long investigation involving a sitting Kern County supervisor who has been accused of a conflict of interest, 17 News has learned.

The controversy stems from a county marijuana decision and a 17 News investigation which asked if Supervisor Leticia Perez should have cast a vote in that instance.

It’s not immediately clear what kind of action will be taken, multiple sources told 17’s Kristin Price and Danny Freeman. Options include administrative, civil or criminal remedies.

For nearly five months the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit has been investigating accusations of conflicts of interest involving county supervisors.

According to some interviewed, Supervisor Perez’s marijuana vote has been a focus for investigators.

On October 24th, Supervisor Perez cast the lone vote to permit the sale of marijuana in the unincorporated areas of Kern County.

Perez’s husband Fernando Jara was actively involved in consulting and lobbying for marijuana interests in the lead up to the marijuana vote. 

Perez was the only supervisor to vote in favor of allowing a marijuana industry in Kern.

Repeated calls to Perez and Jara today were not returned.

The District Attorney’s Office probe began after a 17 News investigation in February asking whether Perez had a marijuana conflict of interest due to her husband’s work.

Marijuana advocates and fellow Supervisor Mike Maggard on multiple occasions publicly accused and suggested Perez had a conflict of interest.

When approached for the 17News investigation in February, Jara declined to be interviewed, but offered a written statement. “I am not involved in the current circus acts being paraded in the media,” he wrote.

Perez announced in May she would abstain from future votes marijuana regulation.

In May, Perez said, “In my own consciousness my own duty to the public trust I do not think it is appropriate for me to engage in this matter moving forward.”

We reached out to the District Attorney’s office to see if any action would be taken against Supervisor Leticia Perez. DA Lisa Green declined to comment.

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