Glass-Arkley investigation headed to DA
EUREKA -- Police Chief Garr Nielsen said Monday that the investigation into City Councilman Larry Glass' allegations that businessman Rob Arkley assaulted him has concluded, and a report will be in the District Attorney's Office today or tomorrow.
But it looks like it won't be there for long.
District Attorney Paul Gallegos, reached on his cell phone Monday, said the report will be sent directly to the office of the state Attorney General, who he will ask to take the lead in any possible prosecution.
Gallegos said his office would not review the report.
Gallegos said in a previous interview with the Times-Standard that his decision to recuse his office has more to do with the appearance of a conflict of interest than his ability to handle the case fairly.
What the attorney general will do with the report isn't quite clear.
The Humboldt County Democratic Central Committee sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office last month asking it to take the lead in the investigation and any possible prosecution of the allegations. In a response letter, sent Sept. 26, Senior Assistant Attorney General Gerald Engler declined that request, saying it came prematurely and, as a rule, the state does not step in at the request of a third party.
Now that Gallegos is the one asking to recuse his office, the request might carry more weight. But, based on Engler's letter, it may be far from a sure thing.
”Only in extraordinary cases where an actual conflict of interest makes it unlikely that the district attorney can fairly prosecute the case may the district attorney be recused,” Engler wrote. “A mere appearance of conflict is insufficient to warrant recusal. ... The mere fact that the case involves a political supporter or a political opponent of the District Attorney will almost never suffice to justify recusal.”
Nielsen, who declined to comment on the contents of the report at this point, said the investigation was concluded last week, and the department is giving the report a final read before handing it off to the district attorney.
Glass filed a police report on the heels of a Sept. 5 reception for the California Coastal Commission at Avalon restaurant, where he alleges Arkley shoved him, claimed to have had him followed and threatened to destroy him if he didn't vote for Arkley's Marina Center project.
Reached Monday, Glass said he's not sure where things will go from here.
”I don't know what's going to happen really but, whatever happens, I'm glad I took a stand and did the right thing,” he said.
Arkley's spokespeople have denied there was any physical contact between Arkley and Glass, and characterized Arkley's role as that of a concerned parent.
Arkley spokesman Steven Glazer said the matter was “part and parcel to the campaign” Glass has been waging against the Arkley family over the Marina Center project.
”Glass has claimed he's doing the right thing, but doing the right thing is not wasting scarce police resources on a political crusade against Rob Arkley,” he said.
Nielsen said he is confident in Detective Neil Hubbard's work investigating the incident.
”We did an exhaustive investigation, probably far in excess of what we had done if it had been two people who weren't as prominent in the community,” Nielsen said. “I feel very confident that we did a very thorough investigation.
Oh, c'mon Paul, it's not like you have to swoop up nine felonies and dismiss them all on a single day - you know, that really had the appearance of conflict of interest, this oughtta be a piece of cake! But no - it is another rock and a hard place, just like Cheri Moore - you can't do what the handlers want (they hate Arkley, and see this as a major opportunity), so you have to pass the buck - that's your real conflict of interest. In fact that has been your problem all along. Had you just done your job you wouldn't have had the Palco debacle, the Debi August debacle, the Salzman debacle, the Bowman debacle, the list goes on...