Bunch Questions DeMartini

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M= ASSISTANT DA Marlisa Ferreira




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B All right. My name is Kirk Bunch, I’m a criminal investigator with the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office. I’m here at Stanislaus County, 6th floor. What’s the address here, Rob?

R 1010 10th Street.

1010 10th Street. You’re right. Today’s date is May 16th, 2016. Time is approximately 09:07 AM. This is in relationship to the Korey Kauffman investigation, S12101097. I’m here today with Chief Deputy District Attorney Marlisa Ferreira  and–

D Jim De Martini.

D Okay. You, sir?

JD John Doering, County Counsel.

D You, sir?

R Rob Taro, Deputy County Counsel.

B Okay. So the reason why we’re here is that the defense made a motion last week, related to how much has been spent on this investigation. And during their offer of proof, they said that you had publicly announced that the investigation has cost over $3 million. So there was some arguing back and forth, and at the end of the day, the judge asked me to come over and interview you, related to where you came up with that figure. Anything else, Marlissa?

M Just that the basis of it came from an appearance you’ve made on Carmen Sabatino’s radio show. Do you recall that appearance?

D Yes, I do remember that. I go on every once in a while.

B Do you remember the date of that?

D No, I don’t. It was a few months ago.

B A few months ago? Okay.

B We could find it, though.

B Oh, I have it. I was just wondering if you remembered. And how did you come about to go on there? He called you and asked you? And–

He calls me every once in a while to come on, so. I don’t want to look like I’m ducking any issues when I go on. I–

B-Okay. Well, let me ask you, did you say $3 million when he asked you that question?

D Yeah. That was the rumor. I heard it was 3 million. I couldn’t tell you where that came from, exactly, but [crosstalk].
B So when you say it was a rumor, that’s kind of been floating around in the government office or friends or family members? Do you remember?
D Probably just around government I guess. I don’t know. I go to a lot of things. You hear rumors about everything. So that was the rumor that it’s cost 2 or 3 million dollars. I don’t know if it or not, because I’ve never seen any figures on it.
B That’s what I was going to just ask you. So you have never sat down with accounting and never’s been a full accounting with it where you could come up–?
D I’ve never even asked how much it was. I don’t think anybody keeps track of it anyway.
B All right. So you have learned that from casual conversation with people?
D Yeah. There’s lots of rumors that float around in this building and around, so, of all sorts of things. That’s one of them.
B Okay. So that’s not a for sure thing, then, in your mind, that cost. Right?
D No. I really don’t know what it costs. I think I said that to me him, too, that I really wasn’t sure.
B All right. Marlisa, any questions on that area?
F No.
B Okay. So let’s move on. Did you make a comment about our witnesses, too?
D Yeah. I did. I remember the witnesses.
B What did you say? And the reason I’m asking is because the defense is going to bring this up. So I wanted to hear it from you what was said, and if they’re not taken out of context. You know how sometimes people take things out of context? What was actually said, related to the witnesses?
D I said their credibility was in question with me, just because they’re drug addicts and thieves, what I’ve seen in the paper.
B So you’re getting that from–? meaning drug addicts and thieves– because we’ve interviewed various witnesses and they’re not all drug addicts and thieves. But you’re getting your information from the paper?
B Just the newspaper.
B Modesto Bee?
D Modesto Bee. Yeah.
B You’re not going on Carmen Sabatino’s blog getting that information [laughter]?
D No. I don’t. I don’t use computers, really, at all. But every once in a while the Bee runs a story about it there. They just don’t seem like they’re real upstanding citizens. I don’t know how many people you’ve interviewed.
B Over 400.
D 400?
B Over 400.
D Oh, wow.
B And the amount that are actually involved with drugs or have any criminal history involving theft cases is less than 15 out of 400.
 B See, the problem is our victim had that lifestyle. So our victim had that lifestyle, he’s going to hang out with other people with that lifestyle. Right?
D No, I’m sure. Yeah. He’s not going to be– he doesn’t hang out with anybody here.
B Can I ask you a hypothetical?
D Sure. Why not?
B Okay. What did you believe? Do you believe that someone should be murdered over stealing property off of someone’s property?
D No. Not murdered. Nobody would believe that.
B What’s that?
D Nobody believes somebody should be murdered over stealing property.
B Be surprised. Some people do. But you don’t believe if someone took something, you don’t think that they should be murdered. Right?
D No. They should stand trial for it, but [crosstalk]–
B I have a question. When you appeared with Mr. Sabatino just prior to the radio show going live, did he tell you that he was going to talk about this case or did he leave you with the impression that he was going to talk about your campaign?
D Well, that was my impression. That’s the reason I went, because I was interviewed. It wasn’t that long ago the campaign had already started, and so I thought he was going to ask me what I thought about different issues. But he’s always got some vendetta against the county or somebody, the sheriff in particular. He’s always got that agenda. But my expectation on the program was that we were going to talk about issues related to the campaign, but that wasn’t the case.
B Has Carmen Sabatino told you or talked about Korey Kauffman at all? And not just on that day, but anytime in the past?
D I know he’s mentioned the guy, but I just couldn’t tell you anything that he’d said about him, really.
B Okay. You remember him talking about him, but you don’t remember the–?
D I remember the name coming up. I don’t know a lot about this case, really. I don’t know all the players in it. I read a little– every once in a while the Bee runs a story and I read that, but that’s not very often. I’ve never been there to–
B Have you had any conversations with Frank Carson or any members of his family about the case?
D No.
B Okay.
D I don’t know Frank Carson, but I do know his wife a little bit, but I haven’t seen her in years.
B How do you know Georgia?
D Because I manage a piece of property for her and her brother, but I only talk to her brother Heckendorf.
B Charles.
D Charles.
D Charlie, yeah, Heckendorf. It’s a walnut orchard. I’ve managed it for years. And when they first bought it, I met her a few times, because they were in it together, but [crosstalk]–
B Is that Tri Valley or what’s the name of the–?
B Tri Land.
D Tri Land. That’s it. Yeah.
F  Where’s that located at, sir?
D It’s on Pauline Avenue near May’s Boulevard.
B Okay. How many acres?
D It is 55.
B 55 acres. So you’ve managed it?
D Yeah. I run the place because neither one of them farm, but I only deal with Chuck. So they had it in almonds, and I’ve pulled out all the almonds now, replaced it with walnuts.
B Okay. Did Chuck or Georgia ever mention who’s the corporate officers of that corporation? Did they talk about–?
D No. I didn’t even know it was a corporation. But I only deal with Chuck, so I don’t– I think the mother was involved as one of the partners [crosstalk] and Chuck and Georgia. That’s what I think it is.
B Do you ever see Frank there?
D No. Never have. I don’t know him at all.
B Okay. I think I have one question related to that. So they have harvest every year. Right?
D  Yeah. We’re harvesting walnuts.
B Yeah. They harvest the walnuts. How much do you think they get out of the walnuts every year for gross income?
D Well, I’d have to figure that up. I don’t know what the production is because I never see the figures for it, but they probably had 5,000 pounds an acre, I’ll bet, last year. It was pretty good. We don’t know what the final price is yet. So they had 30 acres in production only.
B Of walnuts. What are they doing with the other 22 acres?
D There’s 8 acres that is in third leaf walnuts this year. They’re non-bearing, not even this year. And the other 17 acres that was in almonds that was pulled out, and we’re getting that ready to plant. So there’s only 30 acres in production. So they had about 30 acres. They probably got about 5,000 pounds.
B Per acre?
D Yeah. Per acre. So the price of walnuts has been good. It was a dollar and a half the year before. This year, I expect it down to about 80 cents.
B Why the big drop?
D Well, It got too high and the buyers quit buying. The biggest market is overseas. China kind of pulled out of the market and made it collapsed. It’s stabilized now, but it’s down to 80 cents, which is still profitable. A dollar and a half was really, really high. Yeah. I didn’t think that that was sustainable for the long run, but I didn’t think it would drop this quickly.
B When did you pull the almonds and plant the first 30 acres of walnuts?
D I could only guess at it. I would say it was about 10 years ago.
B Okay.
B So how much do you think they make, just approximate? I mean, I’m going to make more inquiries about it. How much do you think they make a year, just off a harvest?
D Well, I’d have to figure it out. Normally I make, myself–
B I would avoid making any speculations, Jim. You know, you know, if you don’t, you don’t.
D But I really don’t. I mean, if I work at it a little bit I could probably come up with some type of range. If you want I could tell you– I know what I make. [crosstalk].
B Right. Yeah. We don’t want to go there. So Mr. DeMartini, how long have you been managing this piece of property for them?
D Probably about 10 years. When he bought the place– it might be 11 or it might be 9, but it’s somewhere in that range. I could look it up. But when he bought the place he was looking for somebody to manage it. A friend of mine recommended me.
B Okay. Anything else that was said on that radio show that day that you thought was kind of weird that he would say, or even afterwards, something that kind of struck you, “Why was he asking me this?”?
D No. I don’t remember what was said without reviewing the tape. But he always makes accusations. He’s got an enemies list, and he kind of– and I’m on this list, too, and he always criticizes me. But it’s usually the sheriff, the district attorney, the chamber of commerce, Ed [inaudible], Reagan Wilson. He’s got this little circle, and he goes around and attacks each one of them.
F Am I on that list?
D Yeah. You are too. Yeah. I’m [crosstalk].
F Am I before you or after you? Just curious.
D Well, he doesn’t have a pattern [laughter].
B Okay.
F I’m not even going to ask about me, so.
D He’s been the sheriff most of the time. And the Modesto Bee’s on the list, too. And he has this enemies list that he just never gives it a rest. He’s always attacking somebody. It’s a list of about 10 people. George Pertolekas is and Mike Zagaris is on the list. I could come up with a list of [crosstalk] people.
B Yeah. I don’t want to go too far off on that.
D And that’s all he talks about.
B Was anybody else present with you when you were having the interview with Carmen?
D There was this other guy there, but I don’t know what his name was. No.
B You don’t know who he was? Okay.
D Somebody I didn’t know.
B And did you have a conversation afterwards, after you were off the air?
D No. I just got up and left.
B Okay.
B Did you say – now I don’t know if it’s true or not, because Carmen says that you said it – that after this case– that if we don’t win this case that Birgit and I will be packing?
D That’s something he would say. I would never say that.
B Well, he’s contributing it to you, so.
D Well, I can probably come up with a long list of things that he’s said [inaudible] people that aren’t true.
B So did you say that or no?
D No. I did not.
B Okay. So you would say Mr. Sabatino lied about that?
D Well, again, we don’t want you to speculate, Jim. Are you familiar [crosstalk]– ?
B I just can’t see myself ever saying something like that. And I hardly know you, so why would I bring you up into something like that attached to the district attorney? I like the district attorney. I get along with her just fine. I even did a fundraiser for her one time.
D Do you have any more questions?
B I don’t think so. No.
F I have one.
F Well, I do. I have one just on the– are you still managing the acreage out on Pauline?
D Yeah.
F Okay. You’re still in a business relationship with them?
D Yeah. I am. Although I only deal with Chuck Heckendorf. And I’ve been avoiding even talking to him because I don’t want to talk about this case, so I’ve just been mailing the bills to him, because I don’t want to get into discussions about this.
B Well, he doesn’t have anything to do with the case. I mean, I wouldn’t worry about that.
B So when you’re managing the property, what is your–? and you’re managing the whole operations for them? Is that what you’re doing?
D Yeah. Well, it’s not that hard. I decide on everything. He decides who he’s going to sell to – which he’s got a contract, I think, with Diamond – but I decide on when to irrigate, what to spray with, when to harvest, how to prune, how much fertilizer to put on is completely left up to me.
B All right. So spraying and pruning, do you hire people to do that or you have people that work for you that do that?
D My own people do that.
B So your people come on their property and [crosstalk]?
D I hire very little [inaudible] there specialty things like ripping the ground up, caterpillar fumigating. I hire companies that do that. Orchard establishment is the only time I have to go out and hire other people to do things that I don’t do, like land leveling.
B Okay.
B Thank you. So just to clarify, Supervisor DeMartini, have you ever gone over to the courtroom and watched any part of this preliminary hearing?
D No. I never have.
B Okay. All right. That’s fine.
B I just [inaudible] too busy to do that. I’ve never been over. I go once in a while to– with the public defender, just to see what his attorneys do, maybe once a year, but it’s just kind of random parts of cases. But I’ve never been over there to watch that case.
B All right. Mr. Dorion, do you have any questions?
B Just short and simple. Miss Ferreira?
F I have nothing else. Thank you for your time.
B All right. This will end the interview with Supervisor DeMartini. I’m investigator Kirk Bunch with the district attorney’s office.