El Dorado County Auditor Sued to Pay Up

by admin / May 26, 2015 / 0 comments
Caption: : 
By: Various

2015-05-26, 03:16:43 PLACERVILLE CA

Past due over 1,000 days! More than three years after it was due, and a year after it was settled in court, the Contractor is forced to sue Auditor-Controller Joe Harn to get paid from El Dorado County.

[Disclosure: Cris Alarcon is a party in the unpaid contract, but is not a party to this lawsuit]

Nearly a year to the date after losing their Soviet style show trial for self-aggrandizing publicity against, Dan Dellinger, a government relations and political consultant often on opposite political sides of the District Attorney and Auditor-Controller, Joe Harn and Vern Pierson are at the center of a lawsuit filed this week in El Dorado County Superior Court.  In this lawsuit, officially filed as “Dan Dellinger v. Joe Harn, et al” and assigned the number PC 20150251, Dellinger is seeking to collect $12,000 still owed him for work successfully completed for the Pioneer Fire Protection District in 2011and recovery of his expensive legal bills resulting from Harn and Pierson’s two year long bad faith prosecution of Dellinger. Joe Harn, the County of El Dorado, and the Pioneer Fire Protection District are named as defendants in the lawsuit; however, the complaint makes it clear that Harn has ignored the Fire District’s instructions to pay Dellinger.

“I want everyone to understand that the Pioneer Fire Protection District has acted honorably throughout my struggle to get paid by Joe Harn who is supposed to pay all of the bills authorized by the District,” said Dellinger, “so I included the District in the lawsuit very reluctantly and only on advice of legal counsel”.

“Before resorting to this lawsuit I tried to settle this matter with the County”, explained Dellinger, “but my own representative of the Board of Supervisors, Brian Veerkamp, refused to meet with me and the County’s high priced risk management office sent me an incorrect last minute form letter denial that makes me think they didn’t even bother to look into my payment requests”.

In addition to Breach of Contract against Harn, El Dorado County, and PFPD, the lawsuit alleges seven other civil charges or “torts” against just Harn and El Dorado County including Conversion, Deceit and Bad Faith, Abuse of the Grand Jury Process, and Bad Faith Prosecution.

Under California State law, the County would be prohibited from reimbursing Harn for any punitive damages awarded against him by a jury, however, as a District Attorney Pierson has absolute immunity from personal liability.

Dellinger had been falsely charged by Pierson and Harn of expending public money and public resources for express advocacy, receiving or granting a gift of public funds, and engaging in unfair business practices while assisting the Pioneer Fire Protection District place the Measure F parcel tax on the November 2011 ballot.  Measure F successfully passed with a near 80% approval vote.

On May 22, 2014, a jury took only 47 minutes to return a unanimous 12-0 verdict clearing Dellinger of any wrongdoing.

Dellinger has a long history of political clashes with El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson and his political ally EDC Auditor-Controller Joe Harn including helping elect EDC Sheriff John D’Agostini and others over Pierson and Harn’s strongly backed candidates.

For background see: https://nevadastatepersonnelwatch.wordpress.com/2014/05/23/inedc-in-a-stunning-rebuke-of-el-dorado-county-da-vern-piersons-charges-jury-find-dellinger-alarcon-not-guilty-of-all-charges/

Complaint:

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

10. A political rivalry has existed for many years between the plaintiff and defendant Jo Harn and Vern Pierson. Defendant Joe I larn and Vern Pierson have often endorsed and/or activel campaigned for public office candidates in opposition to rival candidates who had retain Dellinger's professional services, some of which had lost to Dellinger's clients. Dellinger sometime advocated for public policy decisions contrary to the policy outcomes desired by Pierson and Harn.

11. In early 2011, the County of El Dorado eliminated a supplemental funding program assisting small community-based fire protection districts known as "Aide-to-Fire" effective the following year. Shortly thereafter, the Pioneer Fire Protection District (hereinafter PFPD) estimate that even with prudent and austere management and spending practices, PFPD would be lacking ove one-fourth of the District's annual operating revenue as a result of the pending loss of supplements "Aide-to-Fire" program funding. Faced with this problem, the PFPD Board of Directors took actio to explore enacting a Parcel Tax or Benefit Assessment Fee and then determined to retain the service of a professional consultant to assist with such political process and following consideration of number of proposals, executed a written contract with DAN DELLINGER CONSULTING, on o about June 2, 2011.The consideration to be paid DELLINGER for his services totaled $22,000, plu reimbursement for out of pocket expenses; $10,000 to be paid prior to the November election and th remainder thereafter, but only if funds were available as a result of the tax assessment vote.

12. The PFPD Board of Directors, with Dellinger's consultation, considered four option and subsequently chose to submit a parcel tax to the voters to offset the pending loss of Count funding, which became Measure F. In August, 2011, two months after Dellinger's first payment w. due and much work performed by Dellinger, Defendant Joe Harn (hereinafter Harn) had failed to perform his routine ministerial duty of paying Dellinger as instructed by PFPD. In response to Dellinger's inquiry into Harn's failure to perform his ministerial duty of paying Dellinger, on or about August 12, 2011, Harn claimed he was checking into the legality of the PFPD-Dellinger contract with El Dorado County Counsel, expressing concern over the lawfulness of the $12,000 final payment clause as a "bonus". Shortly thereafter, on or about August 30, 2011 Harn insisted upon modifications to the PFPD-Dellinger contract before he would honor PFPD's contract and pa Dellinger. Through an Open Records Act Request, on or about April 14, 2014, plaintiff learned that the County of El Dorado did not have any policy addressing bonuses for businesses entering into contracts with the County. Furthermore, subsequent research has proved Dellinger's performance based bonus did not violate any State law, County or PFPD policy as alleged by Harn at that time.

13. Dellinger performed services as required by the aforesaid contracts. At the election in November 2011, Measure F passed with nearly 80% of the vote.

14. On or about December 20, 2011 Dellinger received two payments totaling $10,00 issued under the signature of Auditor-Controller Joe Harn on County of El Dorado checks; the initial $2,000 payment which had been due him in June 2011 over 180 days late, and the second $8,0 payment due prior to the November Election over 30 days late. The final payment for $12,000 would become due Dellinger in March 2013.

15. Subsequently, a complaint was made to the County Civil Grand Jury regarding the services provided under the aforesaid PFPD District-Dellinger contract. On or about May 11, 2012 El Dorado County Assistant District Attorney James Clinchard attempted to pressure and coerce Dellinger into perjuring himself by pleading guilty to a false charge and forgoing the remaining $12,000 due Dellinger in March 2013 in a so called "plea bargain" to avoid a costly and professionally destructive civil suit which Clinchard threatened to filed against Dellinger on behalf of his boss the District Attorney.

16. On or about May 15, 2012, Harn sent a letter on official El Dorado County station to the PFPD stating that he "did not intend to process any further payments to Mr. Dellinger".

17. Subsequently, the County Civil Grand Jury, with the Assistant District Attorney James Clinchard as its legal counsel, issued an order to the District Attorney to seek recovery of the $10,00 the Pioneer Fire Protection District and El Dorado County Auditor-Controller Harn had pat. Dellinger and recommended that the additional $12,000 not be paid.

18. On or about July 27, 2012, District Attorney Vern Pierson (hereinafter Pierson) filer People of the State of California vs. Dan Dellinger et al, Case No.: PC 20120428 (hereinafter People v. Dellinger), which sought to take the $10,000 fee payment, already paid Dellinger and bar Dellinger from receiving the remaining $12,000 installment still owed Dellinger under the terms of the aforesaid PFPD-Dellinger contract. In filing this litigation District Attorney- Vern Pierson ignored Complaint for Damages Dan Dellinger v Joe Harn, et al . Case on widely followed case law and sought recovery on a legal theory which was untenable under the fact. known to him at that time.

19. On or about July 27, 2012, District Attorney Vern Pierson issued a widely distribute news release, on County stationary, about this civil suit designed to injure Dellinger's reputation an intimidate potential business clients.

20. On or about March 15, 2013, during the litigation of People V. Dellinger, Dellinger billed PFPD for the remaining $12,000 due Dellinger under the terms of the PFPD-Dellinger contract, but did not receive payment.

21. On May 22, 2014, the three day trial People v. Dellinger concluded with a approximately 47 minute unanimous verdict in Dellinger's favor.

22. On or about June 16, 2014, after the litigation of People v. Dellinger in Dellinger' favor, plaintiff billed the Pioneer Fire Protection District for the remaining $12,000 due Diligence under the terms of the PFPD-Dellinger contract, and the PFPD instructed Harn to pay Dellinger.

23. On or about June 20, 2014, after the litigation of People v Dellinger in Dellinger' favor, Dellinger billed the County of El Dorado for the remaining $12,000 due Dellinger under the terms of the MD-Dellinger contract, legal rate interest on the unpaid principal, and modest $50 collection fee, but did not receive payment.

24. On or about August 8, 2014 Dellinger obtained copies of communication between the Pioneer Fire Protection District and Joe Harn, from PFPD, demonstrating that PFPD had been instructing Harn to perform his routine ministerial duty and pay the remaining $12,000 due Dellinger.

25. On or about November 10, 2014 Dellinger obtained a copy of the August 29, 2014 E Dorado County - PFPD form "Vouchers #Payables Interface CV1" instructing Harn to perform his routine ministerial duty and pay 11 debts incurred by PFPD including $12,000 to Dellinger.

26. On or about November 20, 2014 Dellinger had still not received payment and submitted a claim to the County of El Dorado and the Pioneer Fire Protection District in compliance with the California Tort Claims Act.

27. On or about January 5, 2015, the County of El Dorado rejected Dellinger's claim and, without response, PFPD deemed Dellinger's claim rejected, thus necessitating this litigation.

28. Vem Pierson and defendant Joe Harn acted with fraud, oppression, and malice throughout the process of bringing suit and prosecuting the vexatious litigation, People v. Dellinger, against the plaintiff; including abuse of the El Dorado County Civil Grand Jury.

To Be Continued --