News briefs

Saturday October 14, 2000

Ukiah water prez accused of two decades of theft 

UKIAH – Mendocino County authorities are investigating allegations that the president of a Ukiah water agency has been illegally diverting water to his ranch for more than two decades. 

Lee Howard, president of the Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District, said this week that he has a written, 21-year-old agreement with neighboring Parducci Wine Cellars that allows him to tap into the winery’s water supply, which comes from the Millview County Water District. 

The existence of the pipeline came to light Wednesday. Authorities were ready to use a backhoe to unearth it when Howard arrived and acknowledged it existed. He said it has been used infrequently in recent years. 

Howard said Thursday that he is the victim of a political vendetta waged by longtime opponents in local water issues. 


Four Oakland cops come under FBI scrutiny 

OAKLAND – The FBI has joined in an investigation of four Oakland police officers accused of brutality, falsifying evidence and other wrongdoing. 

The four officers, who called themselves the “Rough Riders,” are already the subjects of criminal investigations by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and the police department. 

The officers, Francisco Vazquez, Jude Siapno, Clarence Mabanag and Matt Hornung, have been on paid administrative leave since a rookie officer made the allegations in July. 

Police Chief Richard Word has recommended the officers be fired, and their supervising officer, Sgt. Jerry Hayter, be demoted. 


Yacht dealer, appraiser indicted for fraud 

SAN FRANCISCO – A yacht salesman and a boat appraiser have been indicted by a federal grand jury for a tax-fraud scam that overvalued boats given to a charitable foundation in Vallejo. 

Broker Gregory Jampolsky and marine surveyor Stanley Wild face eight counts of aiding in the preparation of false income tax returns and one count of conspiracy. The indictment was handed down Thursday. 

The pair is accused of working together to give boats donated to the California Maritime Academy Foundation a higher value than their actual worth. The boats sold for less than what they were appraised for. 

The scheme resulted in major tax savings for the owners of the donated boats and commissions for Jampolsky and Wild, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.