Local

Elk Grove rivals settle dispute over malfeasance allegations

Elk Grove City Councilman Steve Detrick listens to Elk Grove mayoral candidates at a 2012 forum. The Fair Political Practices Commission determined last year that he violated election regulations by paying attorney bills for his son, Brian Detrick, who was embroiled in a legal dispute with activist Constance Conley. Brian Detrick and Conley said Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, they settled their dispute.
Elk Grove City Councilman Steve Detrick listens to Elk Grove mayoral candidates at a 2012 forum. The Fair Political Practices Commission determined last year that he violated election regulations by paying attorney bills for his son, Brian Detrick, who was embroiled in a legal dispute with activist Constance Conley. Brian Detrick and Conley said Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2015, they settled their dispute. Sacramento Bee file

Elk Grove event planner Brian Detrick and community activist Constance Conley said Wednesday they settled a legal dispute that began when Conley accused Detrick of malfeasance in 2013.

Conley alleged that Detrick, son of Elk Grove City Councilman Steve Detrick, and his firm, Brick Events, had illegally solicited and received funds from the city of Elk Grove for nonprofit events without registering as a commercial fundraiser.

Brian Detrick responded by filing a defamation suit against Conley the same year, asserting that her accusation had cost him a business relationship.

In their joint statement Wednesday, Brian Detrick and Conley said that he was in compliance with laws regarding his event planning business.

As part of the settlement, Conley will retract “all statements she has made about Mr. Detrick and his company, Brick Events, not complying with the law,” agreeing to “be more careful with her statements regarding the Detrick family in the future.”

Conley must also contact the Detricks before making future accusations or filing complaints against any of them, according to the statement.

Remaining terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Conley and her attorney, Jeff Kravitz, declined to speak Wednesday, saying the statement served as their comment. Brian Detrick also declined to comment when reached Wednesday.

The legal battle was expensive, as the elder Detrick spent $93,500 in campaign funds between July 2013 and July 2014 to defray his son’s attorney fees. The state Fair Political Practices Commission then fined the councilman $3,500 last year for using campaign funds on personal expenses.

The councilman personally reimbursed his campaign account for his son’s legal bills, avoiding stronger penalties, according to the FPPC.

Conley had countered Brian Detrick’s defamation suit, saying that her allegations were protected under free speech because they were connected to a public issue – that a charitable organization registered as tax-exempt had inappropriately solicited funds from a public entity. Conley also had contacted the state attorney general’s office concerning Brick Events’ fundraising activities for the Elk Grove Police Activities League.

In the brief statement, Brian Detrick and Conley “expressed regret at the situation” and that “the dispute went as far as it did.”

Call The Bee’s Darrell Smith, (916) 321-1040.

  Comments