“In March 2008, The People’s Vanguard of Davis blog published Mr. Gore’s March 5, 2008 letter in which Mr. Gore made allegations of unethical legal practices and the creation of a hostile work environment for employees.”
On March 7, 2008, the Vanguard published the article “Senior Investigator For Yolo County District Attorney’s Office Accuses Reisig of Ethical Malfeasance And Much More.”
According to the District Attorney’s Office, on May 21, 2008, Yolo County publicly released a summary of findings of an independent legal investigation into this matter. The findings determined that all of the allegations in the letter were unsubstantiated.
Mr. Reisig said at the time:
“Every material allegation made by Rick Gore was not substantiated. It was not substantiated that Jeff Reisig was or is engaging in unethical practices. There is no indication that Rick Gore was subjected to a hostile work environment, that he was retaliated against for exercising his rights, and/or that he was discriminated against on the basis of a legally protected category.”
The newest letter purportedly comes after a settlement agreement between the county and Mr. Gore. Neither Mr. Gore nor his attorney was willing to speak to the Vanguard on the record on Tuesday specifically regarding the letter by District Attorney Reisig. However, Dan McNamara, a Sacramento-based attorney representing Mr. Gore told the Vanguard that they “reached agreement” and that “all the parties are happy with the arrangement.”
According to the release from the District Attorney, in his retraction letter Mr. Gore apologizes to
“Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig, Deputy District Attorney Garrett Hamilton, District Attorney’s Lieutenant Investigator Bruce Naliboff and the entire staff of the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office for the misrepresentations concerning them contained in my letter dated 5 March 2008.”
Mr. Gore then lists, and ultimately retracts, substantive allegations from his March 5, 2008 letter which he now states were “unfounded.”
“I am pleased that Mr. Gore has retracted his unfounded accusations against this office and the dedicated people working here. I believe this retraction, along with the findings of the county’s independent investigation released last year, have vindicated those in the District Attorney’s Office affected by Mr. Gore’s allegations. These fine attorneys and investigators are committed to professionally and ethically serving the citizens of Yolo County.”
Mr. Reisig went on to state in his release:
“The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office maintains the highest standards of ethics and professionalism. The personal and professional integrity of the attorneys and investigators in the office is critical to the job we do protecting public safety. An effective and fair administration of the criminal justice system in Yolo County is of the upmost priority to the District Attorney’s Office.”
Vanguard Disputes Accuracy of this Retraction
It should be noted that this most recent letter by Gore is not signed under oath or under penalty of perjury. One of the key unanswered questions is why the District Attorney’s office is able to speak about this and put out a press release but not Mr. Gore. Nevertheless, the Vanguard can verify that Mr. Gore in fact does stand behind most of the key allegations and that these allegations have merit to them.
The DA’s press release claims the newest letter states, in part,
“I was never ordered by DA Jeff Reisig to sign an untrue affidavit in support of a gang injunction. The allegation is unfounded and I retract it.”
In his March letter Mr. Gore wrote:
“I was called in by DDA Linden a few days later, and was told [Reisig] had ordered me to sign this injunction and I had no choice. Knowing I could be fired for not following this order, I signed it after changing some of the language.”
In fact, last year at the Gang Injunction preliminary hearings, Mr. Gore testified under oath that he had been so ordered. So should we believe Mr. Gore’s retraction letter, again not signed under oath or the penalty of perjury or his on the record testimony? If the District Attorney’s Office believes that Mr. Gore testified falsely at the hearing last year, do you believe they would go on to charge him with perjury?
Mr. Reisig’s office recently received negative press when former investigator Randy Skaggs filed a lawsuit which alleged retaliation for whistle blowing in reference to failure to turn over exculpatory evidence in the Halloween Homicide case–a charge that is featured prominently in the letter by Mr. Gore.
Mr. Gore wrote at the time:
“One major disagreement you and I had was when you tried to hide and conceal discoverable evidence about a material witness and refused to discover evidence during an on-going murder trial.”
“Bruce Naliboff told me, in front of you, to “put a muzzle” on Randy Skaggs for talking about this discovery issue. You and I had extensive email discussion about this. Lt. Skaggs was in the office when Dave Henderson had to order you to comply with the law and therefore discover the evidence. I am sure the date of the gun test and the date of discovery of the report will show the long delay in providing this evidence, shooting and gun test, to the defense.”
In his retraction letter, he writes:
“My allegation that DA Reisig tried to hide or conceal evidence during a murder trial was completely unfounded, and I retract it… My allegation that DA Reisig refused to discover evidence during the same trial until I pushed him to do so, and until ordered to do so by former DA Henderson, is completely unfounded and I retract it.”
The problem with that retraction is that we have Mr. Skaggs’ lawsuit against the District Attorney for what? In part for retaliation for Mr. Skaggs blowing the whistle on Mr. Reisig’s alleged failure to turn over exculpatory evidence.
Writes attorneys for Randy Skaggs:
“The Defendant have initiated retaliatory and frivolous administrative proceedings and actions against the Plaintiff, because he brought to the attention of the DA OFFICE, including the District Attorney, exculpatory evidence relating to other criminal investigations and prosecutions, and that thereafter the DA was forced to turn over evidence to defense counsel.”
According to the claim,
“Following these actions by the Plaintiff, the DA OFFICE began treating him selectively, placing him on administrative leave, proposing to terminate him from the department and initiating various administrative proceedings against him. These actions pretextual, wrongful and in violation of the public policies of the Untied States of America, and were in fact done to retaliate against Plaintiff, and in violation of his constitutional rights under 42 USC § 1983 II (Fourteenth Amendment) and other constitutional rights.”
These allegations corroborate Mr. Gore’s March 5, 2008 letter and conflict with this newest letter that was created as part of a settlement. Indeed, in my on the record conversations with Mr. Gore earlier this year, he told me that he stands by the March 5, 2008 letter, that he has offered to take a lie detector test, and that he plans to testify in court under oath to that effect. If Mr. Skaggs’ allegations are proven correct, Gore’s settlement letter will become little more than a PR move by Mr. Reisig to try to control his damaged public image.
While Mr. Gore will not go on the record at this time given the nature of this agreement, I think it is clear that this was a settlement agreement and the public should weigh that factor heavily when deciding at the time what is truth and what is a prevarication. The truth will ultimately come out in many of these matters as Mr. Gore will undoubtedly be asked to testify in the the Skaggs’ lawsuit in public and under oath and probably in the gang injunction case, again, in public and under oath. It is my belief based on previous conversations with Mr. Gore that he will testify that what he wrote in that letter on March 5, 2008 is accurate and he will stand by what he has said.
—David M. Greenwald reporting