Car Trouble

Nick Baldiviez, shown in his 2014 mug shot, is charged with embezzling a former police car that was converted into a show car.

After a three-week trial and two days of deliberations, a jury was unable to reach a decision in the case of Nick Baldiviez, the retired King City police chief who was arrested in a February 2014 sweep

Faced with the prospect of a whole new trial, Baldiviez reached a plea deal with prosecutors. Wednesday afternoon, he pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor counts, one for embezzlement of a police car and one of obstruction of justice for lying to investigators.

Baldiviez was on trial for charges of felony embezzlement and felony perjury.

He will be back in court Sept. 16 for sentencing, and faces up to two years in jail. 

Baldiviez became the sixth of seven people arrested in King City on Feb. 25, 2014 to agree to a plea deal. Officer Bobby Carrillo is still on target to go to trial, with a court appearance scheduled for Aug. 11. 

At issue in Baldiviez's case was whether he signed DMV paperwork transferring a King City police car from the city to Police Officer Mario Mottu, Sr. 

Investigators found the souped-up police car with Lamborghini doors and a custom paint job (that had Mottu's name painted in elaborate script) in Mottu's garage. 

He's invested some $6,000 of his own money on the paint job, rims and vanity plates that read "NCUSTODY."

Mottu pleaded no contest to two counts of embezzlement, one felony and one misdemeanor, for accepting the police car. 

It was originally destined for the PD's youth explorer program, which Mottu oversaw. The dated cop car became a fancy show car that went to events in hopes of attracting kids to the program, and potentially future law enforcement careers. 

Baldiviez's lawyers, father-son due Tom and Brian Worthington, argued the chief's signature on the DMV paperwork was forged. 

Deputy District Attorney Steve Somers painted the portrait of a chief facing a vote of no contest by union members looking for ways to ingratiate himself to rank-and-file cops. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Baldiviez pleaded guilty. He actually pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges. 

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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