The Kern County District Attorney Lisa Green has filed criminal misdemeanor charges against county supervisor Leticia Perez. The counts include using her governmental position to influence an issue in which she had a financial interest, and for failing to file proper disclosure documents.
The DA’s public integrity unit alleges that when Perez voted last October against a ban on marijuana dispensaries, it was a conflict of interest. They allege Perez’s husband Fernando Jara did business with marijuana companies through his communications firm before the vote. Perez was the only supervisor to vote against the ban.
Perez has not addressed the media, but in a statement and press conference, her attorney H.A. Sala said his client denies the charges. He claims Perez is being subjected to disparate and discriminatory treatment. He pointed to a case involving a Bakersfield city councilmember who allegedly violated the same statute who was not prosecuted by the DA’s office.
If convicted, Perez could face up to a year in jail, and could be prevented from running for office for four years.
DA Green says her office also investigated claims about corruption involving Supervisor Mike Maggard, but she says they found no evidence of wrongdoing. Perez is set to be arraigned Wednesday.