Years ago, a friend of mine, Jason Daniel wrote the blog www.eyesofargus.net – and he penned an excellent piece on the Corruption Scandal of Sheriff Baxter Dunn.
It becomes pertinent today – because Dunn appears to be back and is attempting to re-create a political empire. All of these guys involved are democrats and ostensibly part of the Jerry McNerney team.
The Spectre of corruption may well be coming down on San Joaquin County again – so let’s take a stroll down memory lane:
Dunn was part of a group who extorted a Power company to stop them in their bid to build a power plant at the port of Stockton. Dunn and friends wanted another company (that was going to pay them for the help) to build there at the same spot instead. Dunn and friends then began a few shelter companies to cover the payoff money that was to have been coming to them from the other power company if the plan worked – but it never did. They were busted without really making the money. It was the attempt that counted. That was the crime.
The plan hit a stand still when the Power Company that they were trying to discourage would not withdraw its bid and so the Dunn crew went into full Acton by holding political meetings with them, commanding them to appear before the San Joaquin board of Supervisors and during this time Dunn used his power to put pressure on them to quit on their bid for the property. He showed up at the meetings in his official capacity as law enforcement to strong-arm them and intimidate the opposition. Sound familiar? (Where was Baxter’s gun??!!)
This is called a conspiracy and Dunn was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. In contrast, Cooper and Leary conspired to get the law enforcement contract approved. What’s the difference?
Dunn also, according to the account in the court documents, used his official capacity as law enforcement to successfully influence and to assist an entity that he was working for in gaining a political and eventual financial advantage. By having a financial interest in the matter himself- This is called a Conflict – of – Interest.
NOTE – THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: The conflict of interest charge is not contingent on if the offender got any money from the moment of conflict; it’s the fact that there is a clear connection in which the offender logically has the ability and motive to gain.
Lastly, Dunn was charged with making a false statement when he lied to a federal agent when questioned about a whether he had planned a public appearance before the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors on a particular day. The question was: “did you meet with others and plan your appearance?” Baxter said no, when it was well know that he had met before the meeting with his co – cronies to plan his show of support. Maybe Baxter should have said, “You know, I think that it’s the city attorney fault.” Or the better line, “What’s conflict -of -interest?” and don’t forget the always popular, “We need smart people.”
So, now you know the rest. Baxter got caught and Baxter is going to the slam. Was it worth it? Baxter resigned from being sheriff as part of his plea bargain. This is what Baxter had to say in an article from the Sacbee this morning,
I made a wrong call in one instance,” Dunn said. “I think it’s important for me to step up to the plate and take responsibility.”
After all the garbage that this guy put on the trust of the citizens, that is really the least he could do. Own up.
So goes the lesson of good old Baxter Dunn. Oh ya…the pay off was going to be about $250,000 dollars. Was it worth it?
And the Sacramento Bee Covered it as well:
Dunn gets 6 months, $40,000 fine
Former San Joaquin sheriff is spared a harsher sentence after he aids prosecutors in lengthy corruption case.
By Sam Stanton — Bee Staff WriterPublished 2:15 am PDT Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Baxter Dunn, who was driven from his job as San Joaquin County sheriff in January by scandal, was sentenced Tuesday to six months in federal prison and a $40,000 fine.
Dunn, 58, also will serve six months under house arrest after his prison sentence for pleading guilty to one count of honest services mail fraud.
The guilty plea agreed to in January stemmed from a wide-ranging scandal that wrecked the careers of four other prominent San Joaquin County politicians.
Dunn was the best known of the group and saved himself from a stiffer sentence by providing “substantial assistance” to federal investigators, officials said.
He could have been sentenced to up to two years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. said Dunn already is suffering from the “humiliation” of the scandal and that his 38-year career in law enforcement mitigated the need for a longer prison term.
“As sheriff, your accomplishments were many, they were great,” England said. But, the judge added, “you started to believe your own clippings.”
A co-defendant, J. Tyler Reves, also was sentenced Tuesday, receiving five years of probation and 240 days of home confinement. Reves had been an aide to former San Joaquin County Supervisor Lynn Bedford. Bedford and co-defendant N. Allen Sawyer, former head of Gov. Gray Davis’ Office of Criminal Justice Planning, also have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing June 7.
A fifth defendant, lobbyist and rancher Monte McFall, insisted on a trial and was convicted in March on 17 counts of attempted extortion, conspiracy, mail fraud and witness tampering.
McFall and Dunn had once been close friends, but Dunn cooperated with investigators in the case against McFall, although he did not testify against him.
On Tuesday, Dunn distanced himself from McFall and his actions, referring to him as an “associate” who had made “some serious misjudgments in this case.”
McFall faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing Aug. 23 for his role in the scandal, which involved the group’s efforts to lure energy companies to the Stockton area and during which McFall was accused of shaking down some officials for payoffs.
Dunn, who was elected sheriff four times since 1990, resigned as part of his plea agreement, and he said after his sentencing that his role in the scandal was an aberration in a life of public service.
“I made a wrong call in one instance,” Dunn said. “I think it’s important for me to step up to the plate and take responsibility.”
Dunn’s attorney, Wayne Ordos, asked that the former sheriff serve his prison time either at Lompoc Federal Prison or at the Federal Prison Camp at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas.
Dunn was ordered to report to prison by 2 p.m. June 22.
After he serves his sentence, Dunn said, he plans to “enjoy life” and remain active in the Stockton area.
Because he listed his resignation on county forms as a retirement, Dunn was able to claim his pension for his 38 years of service to the Sheriff’s Department.
Take note of a named co-conspirator, N Allen Sawyer. Like Dunn, he also took a felony rap. Like Dunn, he is a figure in San Joaquin Politics.