Byron, CA (February 18, 2016) –On February 5, 2016, Byron-Bethany Irrigation District (BBID) issued subpoenas to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB). The subpoenas request information regarding SWRCB’s authority to conduct criminal background checks on BBID’s elected board members and/or general manager. The subpoenas were issued because BBID has information indicating the SWRCB requested a criminal background check of one of BBID’s elected Board members, Board President Russell Kagehiro.
On February 8, 2016, the press reported that the SWRCB’s Prosecutor, Andrew Tauriainen, claimed that the subpoenas were “baseless,” suggesting BBID manufactured the facts supporting the subpoenas.
On February 11, 2016, the SWRCB and its Prosecutor responded separately to the subpoenas issued by BBID. The responses provide that the SWRCB does not possess any documents responsive to the subpoena. The SWRCB’s Prosecutor also states that BBID’s request was “unsubstantiated,” and was issued to “harass and distract” the State’s prosecution team.
With no information available from the SWRCB regarding this apparent request for a background check of Mr. Kagehiro, BBID will request that the California Department of Justice conduct an investigation to determine whether a background check on any other BBID elected board members and/or general manager was sought by anyone at the SWRCB.
“This is a clear abuse of power by a state regulatory agency that has gone rogue,” said BBID General Manager Rick Gilmore. “In addition to an investigation by the Attorney General, BBID will call upon the legislature to conduct legislative hearings into the SWRCB’s conduct.