PLACERVILLE, Calif. - As El Dorado County Supervisor Ray Nutting prepares to stand trial next month on multiple felony charges stemming from his alleged misuse of state grant money, he's apparently found time to target the two elected officials who put him in the predicament.
Two candidates filed papers this week to run against El Dorado County Auditor-Controller Joe Harn, who first called attention to the irregularities, and District Attorney Vern Pierson, who obtained the indictment. Friday was the deadline to file.
Neither county official has ever been challenged in an election before and they say the two campaigns have Nutting's fingerprints on them.
"This is political payback because the district attorney and I have done our jobs. That's all it is," Harn said. "Ray Nutting is looking for county officials who won't call him out when he improperly obtains the public's money."
Harn and Pierson claim Nutting and his supporters hastily recruited the two candidates.
Harn pointed out the CPA license of his opponent, Camino businessman Mike Owen, had been inactive until last week and district attorney candidate Judson Henry first registered to vote in El Dorado County this week.
Henry is a bankruptcy attorney who represented himself in his own Chapter 13 filing in November.
The California State Bar shows Henry's address is a condominium in Rocklin, which is in Placer County. He gave the county elections department a residence address on Mother Lode Drive in Placerville, which is a home owned by a political consultant who was worked on Nutting's campaign.
Owen bristled at the suggestion that Nutting had recruited him, although he said Nutting was a friend and supporter.
News10 was unable to contact Henry, although nominating papers filed with the elections department show Nutting personally gathered the necessary signatures for him.
Nutting said the two candidates had chosen to run on their own to oust what he called two corrupt politicians.
"That's not my doing," Nutting said. "That's Joe Harn and Vern Pierson's doing."
Pierson said the sudden appearance of a challenger won't change the prosecution of Nutting on four felony and seven misdemeanor charges stemming from Nutting's use of Cal Fire grants to clear his private property.
"I'm in the accountability business," Pierson said. "And I'm confident that regardless of what pathetic game Supervisor Nutting engages in, ultimately he will be help accountable in a court of law."