Supervisor retains criminal defense attorney, DA to hold marijuana press conference


The District Attorney’s office announced late Monday it will hold a news conference Tuesday morning on a months-long investigation into marijuana and conflicts of interest in Kern.

We told you first on 17 News two weeks ago the DA’s office was going to take action after a months long investigation into the weed wars engulfing our Board of Supervisors. 

Fifth District Supervisor Leticia Perez will also be holding a press conference Tuesday at 11 am at Criminal Defense Attorney H.A. Sala’s office.

It all began in October.

Four to one, Supervisor Leticia Perez was the lone vote in favor of bringing the marijuana industry into the unincorporated areas of Kern.

But that wasn’t the whole story.

In February, 17 News aired an investigation that showed Perez’s husband, Fernando Jara was lobbying and consulting for marijuana interests ahead of the vote.

You can see that investigation here: 

Accusations of marijuana misbehavior were rampant.

“I have concluded that what is happening here is a concerted campaign to disseminate false and misleading information,” said Kern County Counsel Mark Nations addressing marijuana conflict accusations at one point.

“I don’t know anything about it, but i need to know, and i think the reputation of this board demands an answer,” asserted District One Supervisor Mick Gleason.

The District Attorney’s Public integrity unit began an investigation.

Tensions simmered until May, when Supervisor Perez made a surprise announcement to abstain from future marijuana votes. 

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

And in the wake of 17 News reporting action from the DA’s office was coming, Fernando Jara wrote on Facebook, “My family prepares for our time of political persecution…we join the ranks of our community’s Civil Rights heroes who have been politically persecuted in Kern county.”

Neither Perez nor Jara have agreed to interviews on the matter with 17 News.

Of note at the start, DA Lisa Green made it clear this was not a limited investigation. 

Supervisor Mike Maggard has been publicly accused by marijuana advocates of having a conflict himself, and Supervisor Perez encouraged him to abstain from marijuana votes.

Supervisor Maggard has denied those accusations, and told 17 News Monday he has not retained any legal counsel in anticipation of the DA’s Tuesday announcement. 

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