Former El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting’s attempt to retain his seat and halt a special election was rejected Thursday by California’s 3rd District Court of Appeal.
Nearly two months ago, a Superior Court judge declared that Nutting must forfeit his seat because of misdemeanor convictions over how he raised bail money as he faced arrest last year on felony charges of political malfeasance. He was acquitted of the felony charges but convicted under the Political Reform Act for obtaining illegal loans from county employees and a county contractor to post bail.
The judge determined the misdemeanor offenses constituted “misconduct in office” and declared Nutting’s seat vacant June 6. The Board of Supervisors then set a special election for Sept. 9 to fill Nutting’s seat. Six candidates, including Nutting’s wife, Jennifer, have entered the race.
Nutting sought to block the county’s special election and asked the Court of Appeal to overrule Superior Court Judge Timothy Buckley’s decision that Nutting had to vacate his seat. His attorney, David Weiner, said he expects to quickly take the matter to the California Supreme Court.
The case has revealed bitter political feuds within El Dorado County and between elected officials.
In a release Thursday, the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office referred to Nutting as a “disgraced former supervisor.”
“This joint prosecution by the California Attorney General’s Office and the DA’s Office, and the District Court’s decision today, has proven once again that no one is above the law ... even the politically powerful,” El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said in a statement Thursday.
Weiner said he has sent letters and copies of the petition to overturn Buckley’s ruling to attorneys specializing in political issues, as well as some members of the state Legislature asking for their input.
“Every elected official is at risk if a DA can do what has been done to Ray Nutting for things that are normally minor fines under the Political Reform Act,” Weiner said.
Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.