Sacramento – Senator Andy Vidak (R-Hanford) today filed a complaint with the Senate Legislative Ethics Committee concerning a possible conspiracy to cover-up reported threats made by Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) Member Isadore Hall. (Text of the complaint letter is below as well as a link to the signed copy).
Vidak was informed on the Senate Floor yesterday by Senate President pro-Tempore Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) that there would be no investigation into the recently reported obscenity-laced, threatening tirade by former Senator Isadore Hall, now up for confirmation as a member of the ALRB.
Multiple sources have reported that on February 28, the night before a Senate Rules Committee hearing on Hall’s appointment to the ALRB, Hall made threats “to get” several farmers who were scheduled to testify against his confirmation. The ALRB is a quasi-judicial agency that among other things issues rulings regarding labor laws and interactions between farm worker organizations and growers.
Witnesses report that Hall’s language was obscene during his encounter with the three board members and the President of the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) in the lobby of the Sacramento Hyatt Hotel that evening.
“Senator De Leon (who chairs the Senate Rules Committee) told me yesterday that he and the leadership of the CFFA ‘have worked things out so Hall won’t be investigated,’” said Vidak. “Is this really how the Senate handles reports of threats and intimidation by someone pending a Senate confirmation vote?”
Upon initially hearing about Hall’s threatening tirade two weeks ago, Vidak formally requested that the Senate Rules Committee investigate the matter:
“Now, more than ever, there needs to be an investigation by somebody,” continued Vidak. “Has this reported ‘arrangement’ with the CFFA ‘leaders’ to roadblock an investigation into Hall been agreed to by the four other members of the Senate Rules Committee? Hard to believe that Rules Committee members pretending nothing happened somehow serves the public’s interest or the rights of farm workers or farmers?”
The text version of Vidak’s letter to the Ethics Committee:
March 24, 2017
The Honorable Ed Hernandez, Chair
The Honorable Mike Morrell, Vice-Chair
Senate Legislative Ethics Committee
1020 N Street, Suite 238
Sacramento, CA 95814
Dear Senators Hernandez and Morrell,
I am filing this complaint with your committee regarding a possible conspiracy involving the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) and Senate president pro-Tempore Kevin De Leon to cover-up recent reported threats made by Agricultural Labor Relations Board (ALRB) member Isadore Hall.
It was reported to me and reported in the media that on February 28, the evening before Hall’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Rules Committee, Hall made threats “to get” several farmers opposing his confirmation during an obscenity-laced tirade in the lobby of the Sacramento Hyatt Hotel.
I subsequently formally asked the Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, in a letter copied to all other members of the Senate, to have the Rules Committee investigate this incident involving Hall, to inform the entire Senate of the results of the investigation and to hold up Hall’s pending Floor confirmation vote until the investigation was final.
No response from the Chair or any other member of Rules Committee about an investigation was forthcoming until yesterday on the Senate Floor when Senator De Leon informed me that “there would be no investigation” and that he and the leadership of the CFFA “have worked things out so Hall won’t be investigated.”
Specifically, my complaint to your committee is that the Senate’s confirmation process of gubernatorial appointees may have been compromised in this situation if as it appears: 1) credible information about potential criminal activity by an unconfirmed gubernatorial appointee is intentionally ignored/withheld; and 2) a member of the Senate Rules Committee is making arrangements with representatives of private organizations to bury investigations of gubernatorial appointees.
Thank you for your consideration of this serious matter.
Cc: Members of the Senate
For a copy of the signed letter please click here.