The Madera County Board of Supervisors on March 13 unanimously denied a $15 million ‘claim for damages’ from District Attorney David Linn and his wife, retired Sierra Star publisher and past president of the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce, Betty Linn.
David Linn’s claim for $10 million centers around his censure by the Madera County Board of Supervisors on Nov. 27, following a three-month investigation by an outside law firm that resulted in a 39-page report that “sustained” allegations of serious workplace misconduct - including repeated sexist or sexually explicit comments to and about employees and female crime victims, along with comments that were characterized as racist, lewd, abusive, offensive, threatening and discriminatory.
The supervisors resolution to censure Linn stated that the “accounts of Linn’s workplace misconduct have been verified by multiple witnesses during the course of a thorough, independent professional investigation ... and and multiple documented sources give accounts of frequent outbursts of anger and inappropriate behavior with his staff members including threatening remarks and offensive comments about their physical appearance, race or gender.”
The resolution went on to say, in part, “Linn’s conduct is unbecoming of an elected district attorney and has tarnished the reputation of the Madera County District Attorney’s office ... and “the board is profoundly disappointed by, and disapproving of, the conduct of District Attorney David A. Linn.”
Linn and allegations
Linn has denied all the allegations - and at the time, Linn said he was shocked and saddened by the county’s actions and press release, which occurred immediately after the brief meeting he had with the board.
“You’ve called for my resignation - that will not happen,” Linn emphatically told the board at the Nov. 27 public meeting. “You’d like to fire me, but you can’t fire me because I don’t work for you. I work for the citizens of Madera County. I am here to prosecute criminal activity, whether I find it in the ghettos of Madera, in the hills of Eastern Madera County, or sitting in the chairs of the county board of supervisors ... so gentlemen, you aren’t off the hook ... you’re afraid ... developers from Fresno County are cutting up our county, the supervisors have no interest in representing their constituents ... it’s all about lining your pockets and making your retirements comfortable ...”
Just last week, the state Attorney General’s office granted Linn’s request for that office to take on the criminal investigation of the supervisors, due to a conflict of interest with the board. The AG’s office asked Linn to provide his entire investigative files to its office in Sacramento. Linn was expected to be in Sacramento this week to deliver the requested documents.
His recent claim states that the Nov. 27 supervisor’s meeting and the release of the above mentioned report by the law firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore violated his due process rights with the specific intent to destroy his reputation, interfere with his efforts to run for re-election and disrupt his office in order “to interfere with or prevent the continuing investigation of (Madera County) government corruption.”
Linn said the county’s actions denied his rights under federal and state employment laws, and Madera County policies and guidelines on discrimination and harassment. The ‘claim for damages’ states Linn has been subjected to a hostile work environment by County Counsel Regina Garza, county CEO Eric Fleming and supervisors Tom Wheeler, Bret Frazier, Max Rodriguez, David Rogers, and Dick Poythtess.
The claim further states Linn has suffered damages as a result of the intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, defamation, liable and slander, and has suffered loss of reputation, loss of future income and bodily and emotional injury causing him mental anguish.
Betty Linn’s $5 million ‘claim for damages’ also points to the Nov. 27 board meeting where board members made defamatory, illegal, and inaccurate statements, placing her in a false light.
Her damages are for mental anguish, loss of reputation within the community, and loss of future income.
The ‘claim for damages’ to the county is a routine process, and after the claim’s rejection by the supervisors, the Linn’s have up to six months to file law suits with the court.
Linn defeated then District Attorney Michael Keitz in 2014. During the election, the supervisors also had an outside lawyer investigate how Keitz interacted with his office staff, but the report was never released because Keitz had a judge place an injunction on the report.
Challenging Linn for his job in the June Primary Election is one of his former employee and a current one -Sally Moreno who left about six months after Linn’s arrival to the office - and current Senior Deputy DA Paul Hornick.
Hornick confirmed the allegations brought forth by the supervisor’s investigation and said, “at some point people need to be free from verbal harassment which has been an issue in this office. No one is making these allegations up.”
County Counsel Garza declined comment for this story.
The complete ‘redacted’ report about the alleged workplace misconduct of DA Linn can be seen at https://goo.gl/64vtSK.