Two criminal charges filed against County Supervisor Leticia Perez

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Fifth District Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of conflict of interest.

The charges were filed in Kern County Superior Court Tuesday morning, minutes before District Attorney Lisa Green held a news conference to discuss the case.

Perez is charged with violating Government Code 87100 — “public official influence government decision for financial interest” and with Government code 87203 — “public official failed to disclose investments, interests, etc.” 

The charges are the culmination of a year of marijuana mayhem in Kern and stem from Perez’s husband’s work in the marijuana industry prior to a critical Board of Supervisors vote last fall.

Supervisor Perez has not yet responded to our request for comment, but KGET has learned she has retained criminal defense attorney H.A. Sala in the matter.

She was absent at last week’s board meeting.  

Perez is accused of having a conflict of interest when she voted Oct. 24 to allow the commercial sale and growth of marijuana in Kern County.

Perez was the only supervisor to vote in favor of the measure.

A February investigation by 17 News showed Perez’s husband Fernando Jara was actively involved in consulting for the marijuana industry in Kern ahead of that vote.

Since then, the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit has been investigating accusations of conflicts of interest involving county supervisors for five months.

Marijuana advocates and Supervisor Mike Maggard publicly accused Perez of having a conflict of interest.

The DA’s probe also included accusations of marijuana conflicts of interest levied against Maggard, according to one person interviewed by investigators.

Maggard denied conflicts.

17 News has sought interviews with Jara nor Perez for months. They each have declined multiple requests over the last several months.

Jara wrote on Facebook last week that he and his family have joined “the ranks of our community’s civil rights heroes who have been politically persecuted in Kern County.”

“My family prepares for our time of political persecution,” Jara wrote on Facebook.

“We prepare ourselves to speak truth to tyrannical power,” he said.

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

“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,” she said then.

Though to date Perez has not addressed specific allegations of a conflict involving her husband’s marijuana work. 

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