A federal court jury on Tuesday awarded more than $100 million in damages to two gravel mining families that accused Sacramento County government officials of putting them out of business for the benefit of the rival Teichert Construction company.
Everybody knows Teichert owns the politicians in the Sacramento area.
After a day and a half of deliberations, the U.S. District Court panel in Sacramento awarded $75 million in compensatory damages to Joe and Yvette Hardesty and $30 million to the Jay Schneider family.
The verdict also hit three county officials with punitive damages, including Roger Dickinson, the former state Assembly member who was chairman of the Board of Supervisors when the county imposed a cease and desist order on the joint Hardesty-Schneider mining operation. The jurors found Dickinson liable for a $25,000 award against the Schneiders only.
Retired Sacramento County Planning Director planner Robert Sherry was hit with $750,000 in punitive damages against the two families, while jurors awarded the Schneiders $1 million from county aggregate resource manager Jeff Gamel.
The plaintiff’s trial brief said the Teichert company sought the help of the late state Senator Dave Cox and former U.S. Rep. Dan Lungren “to pressure various agencies” to put their operation out of business.
“The County and elected officials had for years received contributions of large sums from Teichert executives and lobbyists,” the brief said.
Read the whole story in the Modesto Bee