California's top law enforcement agency is prosecuting one of its own, a Rancho Cordova man charged with felony conflict of interest over a contract made while he worked for the attorney general.
James Joseph Brown Jr. was arrested this month on charges of monetary conflict of interest and a related felony charge of perjury, the latter for allegedly failing to disclose personal ties to Govcentric Inc., listed in state records as a local consulting firm.
The 55-year-old administrator was the Justice Department's bureau chief of information systems when the crimes occurred between Nov. 2 and Dec. 8 of 2009, according to a complaint filed in Sacramento Superior Court.
Brown is free on $25,000 bail pending further court proceedings April 11.
The attorney general's office declined to discuss the case, and records that might contain details are sealed in a court file. Neither Brown nor his attorney, Russell W. Miller Jr., returned calls from The Bee for comment.
Brown's legal problems stem from an incident Nov. 2, 2009, in which he became "financially interested in a contract made by him in his official capacity, and by a body and board of which (he) was a member," the criminal complaint said.
The nature of the state contract, its size and parties involved were not identified.
But Brown's failure to disclose his ties to Govcentric was "connected in its commission" to the contracting conflict of interest, the complaint said. Prosecutors say he perjured himself in a required financial disclosure statement.
Govcentric has done big business with the state, submitting more than $800,000 in purchase orders tied to the Department of Justice between February 2010 and May 2011, according to records from the Department of General Services. The company participated in redesign of the agency's computer information system as early as 2006.
Charges against Brown do not cite actions prior to 2009, however. The only allegation of contract-related misconduct stems from activity Nov. 2, 2009.
Brown allegedly misstated the fair market value of Govcentric, falsely declared that he had disposed of his personal interest in the firm, and failed to disclose his community property share in Govcentric, the company's primary source of revenue, or income and reimbursements he received from it.
Brown's wife, Kimberly Schwartz-Brown, was the local agent for Govcentric when it incorporated in California in 2005, according to records filed with the secretary of state.
More recent state documents, from May 2011, list another woman as the firm's agent and chief executive officer.
Brown transferred last year from the Justice Department to Covered California - the California Health Benefits Exchange - where his salary was $133,524 per year as project director of information technology. He left state employment March 25, the day of his arraignment.
Besides the two alleged offenses from 2009, Brown was charged with felony failure to disclose personal interests in Govcentric and Kimberly-James Cellars in 2011, and separately, with felony failure to disclose ties to Kimberly-James Cellars, Govcentric and Capital City Consulting in 2012.
State business records show Kimberly Schwartz-Brown as the agent for incorporating Kimberly-James Cellars in June 2010. Months later, she was listed as chief financial officer and James Brown as chief executive officer of the wine production company, located at their home. The firm's name is a combination of their own.
Capital City Consulting was incorporated in May 2011 and run by Kimberly Schwartz-Brown. The business management consulting firm dissolved in February, one month before her husband's arrest, records show.
Brown also faces two misdemeanor charges, failure to file required financial disclosure statements with the Justice Department and with the Health Benefits Exchange upon transferring from one to the other in summer 2012.
Call Jim Sanders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @jwsanders55.