Tulare releases independent Nunley investigation through records request

The Tulare City Council has rejected Councilman Greg Nunley’s demand for a public apology and a $16.5 million compensation package for alleged damage to his reputation and income; and, meanwhile, an independent investigation of Nunley’s treatment of city employees has been released, finding the councilman threatened to have city hall staff members fired.

According to the investigative report by Fresno attorney Daniel Rowley, Nunley was accused by city staff of “rude, inappropriate treatment” of building inspectors, issuing demands certain members of the staff at city hall be fired and threatening to sue both the city and individual staff members. Nunley also claims he was the victim of a campaign of harassment by Chief Building Inspector John Karlie.

Rowley’s report on Nunley’s behavior–which cost the city more than $20,000–appears to support staff’s claims of inappropriate behavior, finding that Nunley, while cooperative, was not reliable in his testimony.

“Mr. Nunley was not a credible witness,” Rowley’s report concluded. “On key issues involving his interactions with city staff, I find Mr. Nunley to lack credibility in comparison to …city employees.”

The move to reject Nunley’s claim for compensation–stemming from his accusation the city allowed false information about him and his business to be published–came during a council session held on April 16. With Councilwoman Terry Sayre absent and Nunley recusing himself from voting on the issue, the vote to reject the claim was a unanimous 3-0.

“The ball is in his court,” said Mayor Jose Sigala, who voted to reject Nunley’s claim.

Sigala also said there are concerns about limiting Nunley’s future communication with staff at city hall, as well as his continuing presence on the council.

“(Councilman) Denis Mederos and I spoke out about him staying on council,” Sigala said, “how we can limit (Nunley’s) contact with staff.”

“He has a right to make a claim,” Mederos said. “And, the city has a right to defend itself.”

Now that Nunley appears poised to sue the city, Sigala says there are issues about how information Nunley receives from staff at city hall will be used in future litigation.

“We’ve called on our city attorney to look into how we can limit his contact with staff,” Sigala said, addressing Nunley’s role as both a council member and a private businessman with dealings with the city. “We need to figure out those questions.”

Sigala expressed concern about how information Nunley requests from staff will be used.

“We have some issues with communication,” Sigala said. “Emails he’s sending to the city, is he going to use those against us?”

Visalia attorney Mike Lampe–who is currently challenging Nunley’s business practices with regard to the city in an ongoing lawsuit and who made the report on Nunley’s behavior public when he received it as part of a public records request–has called for Nunley to resign.

According to the Rowley report, many of the claims regarding Nunley’s inappropriate behavior toward staff members appear to be substantiated. Among its findings, the report claims Nunley attempted to intimidate former city managers Joe Carlini and Willard Epps, both of whom refused to fire members of the city staff demanded by Nunley.

Nunley was also rude, condescending and intimidating to members of the staff at city hall, the report said, and threatened to have some staff members fired. The report also says Nunley repeatedly threatened to sue both individual staff members and the city itself.

According to Rowley’s report, there were several instances where “Mr. Nunley demonstrated a very good memory” yet his account of interactions with city staff did not match other evidence, including testimony from staff. Nunley also declined to turn over video evidence he said is in his possession and which would have corroborated his claims of harassment by city staff. Nunley also apparently changed his retelling of events after presented with documentation, Rowley reported.

“This, in my opinion, is an example of Mr. Nunley initially ‘shooting from the hip’ with a response he does not know to be true,” Rowley wrote. “Thereafter, when he realizes he did not state the truth, he admits what he said was wrong. Such behavior, in my assessment, demonstrates a lack of commitment to telling the truth.”

In contrast, Rowley’s report found that members of the city’s staff were credible in their testimony.

“Where applicable, their verbal reports were consistent with prior statements reported by themselves and others and, in some cases, supported by documentation that was created at the time of the alleged event,” Rowley wrote. “It should also be noted that the investigation did not result in the receipt of any credible evidence that any of the other city staff had any reason or motive to fabricate what they were saying.”

According to the report, several of the city’s building inspectors feel that Nunley was harassing them and making it difficult to complete inspections of his construction projects, allegations the report sustains.

The inspectors also reported to Rowley they believed Nunley was using his position on the city council to ignore city building regulations. While the report makes no conclusion about Nunley allegedly abusing his power as an elected official, it does say Nunley admitted being upset by the inspection requirements.

“Based on his admission, and the relative credibility of the witnesses, I find that the weight of the credible evidence supports the allegation that on this occasion Mr. Nunley went off about how he was being harassed, and that he was going to sue Mr. Karlie and the city for harassment and questioned the need for two inspectors, how long they had been building inspectors, etc.,” Rowley wrote.

The city began assigning more than a single inspector for projects involving Nunley due to concerns about Nunley’s behavior, according to testimony contained in the report. The city has since hired an independent inspection firm to review Nunley’s projects, spending $28,000 on inspections of Councilman Nunley’s projects during February and March. According to Lampe, it appears Nunley has not reimbursed the city for either the cost of independent building inspectors or the $20,000 cost of the investigation into allegations against him.

“It has become crystal clear that Councilman Nunley routinely acts to better himself at the expense of Tulare’s citizens,” Lampe said in a statement released along with the Rowley report. “It is equally clear that the city council will need to engage independent legal counsel for the purpose of recovering tax dollars expended solely as a result of Councilman Nunley’s wrongful conduct and insuring that his intimidation of staff comes to an immediate halt.”

8 thoughts on “Tulare releases independent Nunley investigation through records request

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  1. Facts! These are true statements. Mr. Nunley has intimidated staff at city hall and demands preferential treatment when making his demands. Mr. Nunley prefers that the city use an independent inspector since they don’t enforce all of the city standards or regulations proof is demonstrated in photos of the projects. Mr. Nunley wants the city to collapse and bankrupt he has his own agenda and as early as last week he stormed city hall again with his rude demands. He has not made himself available to his constituents and refuses to meet to address concerns that are not relevant to this lawsuit but rather neighborhood needs and request. If he fails to represent the citizens as a council member and is suing the city to drive his own agenda while harassing staff why does he continue to sit on the council? It’s time to start a recall and remove him if he refuses to resign. It’s time for to citizens of Tulare and say enough and refocus on what’s important such as growth business!

    • Very true. Now if we could just rid ourselves of both him and his buddy to his right and get 2 competent council nembers!

  2. If he is on the city council and he sues the city, does that mean he is suing himself. Wouldn’t this be a conflict of interest. I would think he would need to resign before he can sue.

  3. What have we voted for? What has the City of Tulare created? Who are these two men that sit upon the thrones padded by deception, arrogance, ego and intimidation.
    Yes a tale of two men, Greg Nunley and Carlton Jones. You cannot mention one without the other as they will be the book ends that hold the court documents of law suits and the novel entitled “Tulare, the Demise and Fall of a Great City”.
    Greg and Carlton are wrapped the same, just in different paper. One the social justice warrior, who claims to be “Woke” and is for the people and loves his city and the men and women in blue. Yet has ample time to seek out all the mistakes made across the country by law enforcement, for what? So he can justify his actions against our city’s cops? To him racists and racism is everywhere, if you don’t agree with his point you fall into those categories. He rules by force and fear, intimidation, threats, he welcomes violence and challenges it……he has shown his propensity for violent outbursts. He is a self admitted liar……claims to be a man of God a follower of the good book, quick to challenge through scripture and “only God will judge me” that’s great, but here on earth we are often judged by our actions, statements and inevitably by 12. He is always saying and posting “Tulare Strong” a term stolen from communities who have experienced great loss from natural disasters and acts of terrorism. We are Tulare. We don’t need a slogan we need change. A change of the us versus them mentality. In the great scheme what has Carlton done to make “Tulare Strong”.
    Now the other bookend, Greg Nunley, some would say he bought his seat, a miraculous victory, through a recount none the less. Mr. Nunley built his castle and surrounded it by walls. Shady dealings, promises made, promises unkept. Mistreatments of City employees, circle talk, constant recusals, lawsuits and misinformation of the facts. Now the great equalizer, the 16.5 million dollar throw down. Talk about arrogance and ego. For a council member to bring suit against the city in which he was elected to serve for that city’s betterment, that can’t happen everyday? How does he still sit on his throne and look down upon the people this would greatly impact? 16.5 million? Who does he owe? Better yet what does the city have in the bank? Bet those numbers are close. Is this the final middle finger to the city? Maybe catch a settlement and pull up stakes, make a break for it?
    What else can these to men do for our fair city. How many lawsuits, how many lies, how many confrontations during council meetings, how many confrontations outside of county meetings, the ones we know are happening, but have yet to go public. I know folks will defend these two, it’s expected and fairly common regardless of their “do rights” or “done wrongs”. The “done wrongs” seem to be piling up for both. There egos and arrogance will go untarnished, neither of them show much humbleness. Confrontations with them only become rhetorical questions, deletions, blocking’s, threats, racial accusations and the ever present claim “you don’t want to hear the truth!”. They are part of the Me, Me, look at Me mindset. A good leader never boasts of his/her successful missions, great victories or minor accomplishments. Nor does a good leader point blame or throw fault on another when they misstep. Most of all a good leader does not attempt to destroy the very people who put them upon the throne. So instead of Tulare Strong? Maybe we should say Change Tulare? Or Make Tulare Great Again? Or how about “Fix Tulare”.
    Godspeed & Godbless

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