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Cubbison Prelim Set For July 25th

After weeks of delay and the release of hundreds of pages of internal documents, the long-delayed criminal case against suspended Mendocino County Auditor Chamise Cubbison is now scheduled to begin on July 25.

If the preliminary hearing proceeds as scheduled, the public will get its first look at a controversial case filed by District Attorney David Eyster against a fellow elected county official he publicly quarreled with over disputed spending practices involving drug asset forfeiture funds.

The case’s outcome is likely to determine whether Cubbison returns to oversight of a vital county office and whether the County Board of Supervisors will be held liable for damages to her reputation and earnings after suspending her without pay and benefits almost immediately after the DA charged her for felony misuse of public funds.

Eyster's accusation against Cubbison revolves around her alleged use of a little-known county salary code to enable the county’s former Payroll Manager, Paula June Kennedy, to receive $68,000 in extra pay during the Covid pandemic. In her defense, Cubbison asserts that the additional pay agreement was reached between retired Auditor Lloyd Weer and Kennedy before she assumed office.


Cubbison’s attorney Chris Andrian said his office is reviewing hundreds of pages of documents County officials finally turned over after a request for pre-trial discovery was expanded to include all information held back by the District Attorney’s Office.

“I have seen nothing to change my view of this case and the innocence of Ms. Cubbison,” said Andrian.

Eyster stepped back from the case earlier this year after hiring a special prosecutor from Sonoma County at a cost of $400 per hour to pursue the criminal charges against Cubbison.

Traci Carrillo, a former Sonoma County deputy district attorney, said she, too, is reviewing the 700-plus pages of subpoenaed documents the County turned over to the defense and prosecution.


“I will continue to assess and analyze what, if any, effect they have on the merits of the case,” said Carrillo.

Carrillo acknowledged the volume of subpoenaed documents supported the earlier defense request for continuance of criminal proceedings against Cubbison.

“We are all hopeful that July 25 is a realistic date for the preliminary hearing,” said Carrillo.

Cubbison supporters see the case as Eyster waging a vendetta against an Auditor who challenged his expenses, including hosting staff parties at a local steak house despite a county ban on such gatherings.

Eyster has a reputation for publicly combating his critics, and Cubbison became his target when he opposed her interim appointment as county Auditor in 2021 when Weer retired early. She was subsequently elected to lead the County’s key financial review office, which was forced by the Board of Supervisors to merge with the county Treasurer-Tax Collector’s office in a political brouhaha that upended the two offices.

Eyster’s decision to turn to an outside prosecutor sharply contrasted with his stance in January, when he publicly resisted efforts to recuse himself from a case that rocked county politics and led to the board appointing an administrative staff member to take over after Cubbison was stripped of her duties.

The DA and Cubbison, a veteran county employee known to stand her ground, squared off after she questioned some of Eyster’s office expenses, including repeated annual dinners for employees that he labeled “training sessions” to get around a county ban on office parties. Since taking office in 2011, Eyster has quarreled with three different auditors about his spending practices and use of asset forfeiture funds.

Eyster has repeatedly refused to comment publicly on the Cubbison criminal case or the allegations that he is waging a political vendetta against a fellow elected County official.

The Cubbison case has zigzagged through the court system since last October. In addition to fighting the criminal charges, Cubbison has a pending civil lawsuit against the Board of Supervisors. She contends that her due process was denied because the board suspended her without pay without a hearing a few days after Eyster filed the criminal complaint against her. Cubbison has been without pay or benefits since.


  1. izzy June 15, 2024

    700 pages of new documents to review at $400 an hour. And then the county will have to defend itself in a civil suit, all on the taxpayers’ dime. No matter the outcome, it’s a feeding frenzy for the attorneys involved.

  2. JoaniMC June 15, 2024

    They better prepare themselves to have to write a healthy check for Cubbisun’s back pay when Eysters office fails to get his pay back.

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