Evidence gathering in the ongoing wrongful dismissal case of Tulare’s former police chief is revealing yet more behind-the-scenes tumult at Tulare City Hall.
Again at the center of the controversy are problem-plagued councilmen Carlton Jones and Greg Nunley. During sworn testimony taken in mid-December as part of the investigation into the events leading to the firing of former Chief of Police Wes Hensley, Jones called several city staff members liars, as well as members of the City Council.
The one-time mayor ranked two of his colleagues and a handful staff members by their supposed propensity for lying.
Jones testified under oath he, too, had also lied repeatedly, through he was not specific about what lies he had told and when, or whether his lack of veracity related to his conduct of city business.
“I’ve lied tons of times,” Jones told Mike Lampe, Hensley’s attorney, who was conducting the deposition at his Visalia office.
‘Off the Rails’
Lampe is the lead attorney in both the Hensley case and in David Frost’s case against Nunley, which accuses Nunley of using his office for personal benefit. In a letter to the Tulare city attorney, Lampe urged staff to encourage Jones to hire an attorney. The letter included a portion of Jones’s sworn testimony Lampe found to be particularly unsettling.
“Although the transcript has not yet been certified, I am including portions of the draft in this correspondence to highlight just how far off the rails the councilman (Jones) seems to have have gone,” Lampe wrote.
Full Video Released
Lampe said he was so concerned over the nature of Jones’s comments he made video of the entire two-hour deposition available publicly. The video is available for viewing at ourvalleyvoice.com.
“I must say that in 40 years of taking depositions, I have never had a witness so proudly and defiantly proclaim under oath that ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve lied a ton of times,’” Lampe wrote. “If there is a strategy here, I’m missing it.”
Jones’s deposition testimony relates largely to the recent revelation the councilman may have shared confidential personnel information about Hensley with individuals as well as via social media. Jones claims during his testimony to have the permission of City Attorney Mario Zamora to share the information; however, Lampe denies Zamora would have given such advice.
“In his December 20 deposition, Carlton Jones testified that City Attorney Mario Zamora indicated it was OK for Jones to distributed confidential information to third parties. The testimony begins at 14:35:50 and continues through 14:39,” a statement from Lampe to the Voice reads. “I have known Mr. Zamora for many years. Mr. Zamora is a highly intelligent, ethical lawyer. There is no possibility that Mr. Zamora gave the advice that Councilman Jones claims to have received.”
Jones’ ranking a list of liars at Tulare City Hall was triggered by the revelation at least five members of the staff have sworn former City Manager Joe Carlini said “he had (Jones) on credit card fraud” while discussing Jones’s alleged use of a city credit card while on personal business.
While Jones’s condemnation was mainly focused on staff at City Hall, he also called Councilman David Macedo a liar–giving him a liar’s ranking of 5 out of 10–and awarding newly elected Mayor Jose Sigala a 9. Jones also described Sigala as a “POS,” an acronym for “piece of shit.”
The only veteran member of the Council of whom Jones did not have an judgment was Nunley.
“Oh my gosh. I don’t know. I don’t know,” Jones said when asked if Nunley had ever lied. “I don’t have an opinion on Greg (Nunley).”
In another revelation, Lampe has discovered an outside engineering firm has been hired to act as a go-between for the city’s planning department and Nunley. Nunley, who is a real estate developer, is currently subject to a civil lawsuit accusing him of using his position on the Council for personal benefit. He has also been accused of verbally abusing city staff.
An investigation into the accusations Nunley has mistreated city employees has so far cost the city more than $6,500. Previously, the city had threatened to have a restraining order placed against Nunley to prevent interactions with planning staff.
This article will be updated in the January 3 edition of the Valley Voice.