Dueling Lawmen Update
DA cleared Garcia of wrongdoing before he was suspended for helicopter dustup
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The Monterey County District Attorney’s Office investigated whether sheriff candidate Fred Garcia committed an election code violation about two months before the commander was put on leave after he criticized Sheriff Mike Kanalakis’ request to buy a helicopter.
Terry Spitz, chief assistant district attorney, says his office received the complaint toward the end of August and decided not to file any charges on Sept. 30. Spitz declined to specify what the allegation was or who made the complaint. “I can’t really go into detail about it because the election is still going on,” Spitz says.
David Cariaga, business representative for Operating Engineers Local No. 3, which represents Garcia, says Kanalakis made the complaint to the DA about his political opponent campaigning on the job. At the end of August, Cariaga says, the Sheriff’s Office opened an internal investigation into the matter, which is still pending. The former sheriff’s detective says Garcia is innocent, accusing Kanalakis of handling campaign business on duty. “Those who play in glass houses shouldn’t throw rocks,” Cariaga says.
Kanalakis declined to comment, saying it was a confidential personnel matter. Spitz wouldn’t say if Kanalakis levied the charge. “I know [the sheriff] knew about the situation,” he says. “Obviously, as a candidate, he had an interest in it.”
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