Prosecutors want a receiver to look into two houses, two rental properties, seven cars and more than 20 bank accounts in search of $815,000 they say was looted from the Sacramento Public Library Authority by three people, including two former library officials, who were convicted last year in a kickback scheme.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen H. Sumner on Friday delayed the appointment of the receiver, however, until after the District Attorney's Office meets with library officials to decide if there are more efficient ways for the agency to recover the stolen funds. Sumner scheduled the next hearing on the appointment for June 15.
The single most valuable asset at stake appears to be a house on American River Canyon Drive in Folsom that was owned by the library's former facilities director, Dennis Nilsson. In January, Sumner sentenced Nilsson to 14 years and eight months in prison for his role in the operation in which the defendants padded an estimated 1,400 invoices on assorted maintenance projects.
According to the county assessor's office, the house is worth $521,638. JPMorgan Chase has made a claim on the house, according to court records, for $69,355.
Nilsson, 65, his wife, Janie Ross Nilsson, and his daughter, Lisa Layman, all filed claims on the house, in a case that has shifted from criminal proceedings to civil.
In his court papers, Deputy District Attorney Michael Blazina said Nilsson acquired the property in 2002 when he "was receiving frequent and substantial" kickback and bribery payments from two contractors who were granted immunity to testify in last year's trial.
According to the DA, Nilsson was placed on administrative leave June 18, 2007, created a family trust one week later, resigned from the library Sept. 14, 2007, and transferred the house to the trust on Oct. 15, 2007.
"It appears Nilsson, fearing the Library might come after him for misappropriation of their funds, attempted to protect this asset by transferring it to a trust that he would administer," Blazina wrote in opposition to the claims.
Dan Karalash, the attorney who represented Nilsson during the criminal proceedings, said the couple bought the house "as a steal."
He said the couple "did upgrades to it in the course of their marriage" and that its ownership was "properly transferred."
The same three parties also made claims on a 1998 Mercedes-Benz. Nilsson's wife said the car was a gift to her. Blazina wrote that she provided no evidence to support the claim. The registered owner, the DA said, is either Dennis Nilsson or the defendant's mother.
All of the assets were frozen before the trial in which Nilsson and co-defendants James Mayle, 67, and his wife, Janie Rankins-Mayle, 63, were convicted. Mayle, the former security director for the library system, was sentenced to five years and four months in prison. His wife, whose outside billing firm processed the invoices, received six years.
The Mayles own a house in Del Paso Heights and two rental properties in Strawberry Manor. Their attorney, Robert Saria, said the couple have a $250,000 mortgage on the house that he said is now worth $150,000.
Lenders have foreclosed on the two rentals, Saria said. The assessor's office valued them at a combined $130,000.
Along with the property, Jim Mayle has a 2004 BMW that CarMax, which financed his purchase of the vehicle, has made a claim on for $4,454.66.
No information was available on how much money, if any, was in the bank accounts, except for one controlled by Nilsson. His wife made a claim on it for $7,764 in tax returns to which she said she is entitled.
Janie Nilsson came to court Friday with Rancho Cordova attorney Rodney Simmons. He declined to comment.
In holding off on appointing the receiver, Sumner noted the cost for the receiver's services will amount to $300 an hour. He wants the DA to discuss that with the Public Library Authority before the next hearing June 15.
Blazina opposed the delay, saying the appointment is required by statute. Library spokeswoman Brenda Haggard said officials from her agency will meet with DA's officials "to decide what the best strategy is," before taking it to the library board.