A former county building inspector who has been charged with 10 felony counts has been ordered to be held over for trial following a lengthy preliminary hearing.
Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Timothy Canning found there was enough evidence to hold Patrick McTigue for trial on six counts related to a public official soliciting or accepting bribes, three counts of grand theft and one count of attempting to dissuade a witness.
“The court finds sufficient evidence to hold the defendant regarding bribes in at least five counts,” Canning said as he outlined his decision for each of the 10 counts McTigue was facing. “As for dissuading a witness, Mr. Roscoe did feel threatened by the gun signal and the court finds sufficient evidence to hold the defendant on that count.”
Canning was referring to a recording played for the court in which a man identified as Tim Roscoe said on more than one occasion McTigue made the gesture of firing a gun with his hand at him as they encountered each other in Fortuna.
Canning also ruled there was enough evidence to hold McTigue to answer to three charges of grand theft and an arraignment hearing is scheduled for July 25.
The judge’s ruling was strenuously opposed by defense attorney Neal Sanders, who argued most of what was heard over the course of nearly nine hours of testimony was simply hearsay. Sanders said the individuals involved in the case had entered into business contracts with McTigue, not given him bribes.
Sanders also questioned the legitimacy of a threat made on Facebook and attributed to McTigue’s Facebook account that appears to be aimed at three of the people who have made claims against McTigue.
“There are several problems starting with authentication,” Sanders argued, adding the man who testified about the message had been blocked from McTigue’s Facebook page and only learned of the post through his mother. “The authentication problem is a major issue. It’s extremely vague and there is no evidence Mr. McTigue ever distributed the message.”
According to testimony, the Facebook message contained a threat against “rats” who should know what’s coming and included three sets of initials — JG, JK, and TR — allegedly referring to three men involved in the case, Jesse Genaro, Jeremy Kurtz and Tim Roscoe.
The prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Adrian Kamada, called a total of nine witnesses to the stand, including Genaro and Kurtz along with married couple Richard and Lacey Amaral of Weott and James Alves. All testified that at one point McTigue either solicited money from them in order to “fast-track cannabis permits” or accepted cannabis products from them he said he would sell at a cannabis delivery business he had established in Sacramento.
The Amarals testified they gave McTigue $50,000 that was supposed to be used for the Sacramento business and no repayment was ever made.
Roscoe testified he had written three checks to McTigue for a total of $27,000 intended for the Sacramento business, but he never saw any return.
Kurtz and Alves testified McTigue had accepted cannabis products from them. When they didn’t see any return from any sales, they began to suspect that the Sacramento business was fictitious.
Kamada argued that was the case — that there was no business and that McTigue was deceptive.
“As it relates to the bribery charge, the primary purpose of giving the defendant money was in anticipation cannabis permits would be fast-tracked,” Kamada said, adding any money given by the alleged victims to McTigue for his Sacramento business was “based on false grounds that he had a legal business in Sacramento. He’s a county employee in a niche area and he took advantage of these folks.”
The evidence was enough for Canning to hold McTigue on all 10 counts. Appearing in court out of custody, McTigue repeatedly shook his head back and forth in disagreement as Canning read out his ruling.
Kamada said the prosecution intends to file an additional charge against McTigue — possession of cannabis for sales — after packaged marijuana was found in his residence during the service of a search warrant.
Dan Squier can be reached at 707-441-0528.