Is the Continued Prosecution of Robert Adams Part of a Land Grab?

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

In my previous post about how the Sacramento County District Attorney continues to push the prosecution of Robert Adams for child molestation even though there is no evidence, I said that it was part of the typical “bleed ‘em and plead ‘em” strategy employed by most American prosecutors. However, after doing some digging, I have found that there very well could be some other motivation for government officials in that county, and specifically the city of Citrus Hill.

No doubt, the district attorney wants to “win” because prosecutors are all about getting convictions, guilt or innocence be damned. However, some developments after the arrest of Adams and his subsequent demonization by local officials and the local news media, including the Sacramento Bee, raise the possibility that this whole affair may help the City of Citrus Heights meet some of its own development goals. Furthermore, a conviction via plea bargain also would save the city from having Adams and his family sue the police and others for fabricating the case.

Adams was the headmaster of Creative Frontiers School, a private school which Citrus Heights officials closed down after Adams was charged. Later, some people associated with Adams wanted to re-open the school with others in charge, but the city shot down that request, claiming that it essentially would be the same school. While that argument really did not make sense, given that no one else had been accused, nonetheless the decision stood.

The property went into foreclosure, but it was to be sold to nearby Bayside Church for $1.2 million, which would have covered the $1 million principal owed to Zions Bank. However, the bank suddenly balked (claiming the price was too low) but then a few months later sold it to Bayside Church for only $700 thousand. Now, this would not make sense at all, except the City of Citrus Hill also would like to have the property.

In its Action Plan of November, 2011, the city outlines a number of services that it wants to provide, but bemoaned the fact that there is “very little vacant land available for development.” The report continues:

Non-governmental barriers include the availability and cost of land. The primary barrier to the creation of affordable housing in Citrus Heights is a very small supply of vacant land. As the vacant land supply decreases, the availability and cost of suitable vacant land for housing development becomes a barrier to the development of affordable housing.

Creative Frontiers School’s former property has seven acres, which is a huge amount of land for a place like Citrus Heights, and there is no doubt that when a disgruntled former employee made what turned out to be outlandish accusations, as outlined by Christian Peet in his blog post and detailed in my previous post, Citrus Heights officials sensed an opportunity for a land grab. As readers of this blog and other sites, such as Reason Magazine, have come to know, city officials in this country are notorious for stealing private land under flimsy pretenses.

For the most part, the land seizures, such as what happened in the infamous Kelo case in New London, Connecticut, where city officials took private property in order to sell it to a private firm that supposedly would “develop” it and ultimately create more tax revenue for the city. However, in the situation with Citrus Heights, it turns out that it would like to use at least part of that property for a homeless shelter.

Ordinarily, that would not make sense, given that one does not associate homeless shelters with “development.” However, the county and specifically the nearby city of Sacramento have been under fire for what has been called “inadequate” facilities for homeless people. Furthermore, using that property for housing and homeless-related activities would bring in millions of dollars of federal government money, and given the sorry state of California’s economy, federal money probably is the only game in town when it comes to injections of new funding.

In other words, continuing the prosecution of Robert Adams not only would financially ruin Adams and his family, leading to a plea bargain that would keep Citrus Heights and others from being sued, but also would further justify the land grab activities that have been going on behind the scenes. Ironically, government officials have called Adams a “predator,” but it seems that the real predatory activities are those being pushed by Citrus Heights and Sacramento County.

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16 Responses to “Is the Continued Prosecution of Robert Adams Part of a Land Grab?”

  1. #1 |  thomasblair | 

    I’m about as cynical as they come, but I cannot even fathom the depths of depravity required to orchestrate/facilitate the above. Is there any information in addition to a self-serving report written by some dumbass bureaucrat bemoaning the cost of land in CA as an obstacle to achieving his vision of social nirvana (and attendant federal funds)?

  2. #2 |  William Anderson | 

    There are some other things that I have not mentioned that might help clear up your questions, but don’t feel at liberty to reveal some sources. There is no doubt, however, that Citrus Heights definitely wants this piece of land and I strongly suspect that what I predict will come true. I’ll leave it at that.

  3. #3 |  B Mac | 

    Wasn’t there supposed to be a hearing for this case on 8/17? Curious what’ll happen when the prosecutors have to show their case.

    Also, if I learned anything from the Agitator, it’s to be unconvinced by claims of depraved behavior not backed by evidence. I’ll leave it at that.

  4. #4 |  Bill Wells | 

    Bravo to B Mac.

    We need to hold “our” side’s feet to the fire, instead of allowing this to be just an anti-government echo chamber.

  5. #5 |  croaker | 

    I guess accusing the owner of child molestation is easier than getting a cop to say he found a marijuana plant growing on the playground (Ventura County).

  6. #6 |  Kevin | 

    FYI: it’s “Citrus Heights” not “Citrus Hill”. Otherwise, intriguing story. Creative Frontiers sits on a nice chunk of land. I imagine it would make a lot more money for the city if it was more heavily developed.

  7. #7 |  Bee | 

    I live in LA County. Between ED, mandated facilities, and “community standard” land use policies that spring up like noxious weeds, I have absolutely no trouble believing Mr. Anderson’s hypothesis.

    We’re all built-up where I live, and yet space must apparently be found for light-rail projects, parking lots, sports facilities, flood control, water treatment facilities, residential treatment centers, green space…..the list goes on and on. Matching state or federal funds are given as overriding reasons to push projects through, with quick and dirty EIRs, and against community wishes.

    You get special-interest groups at each other’s throats – people who rabidly hate development, people who rabidly support sports facilities, people who rabidly support parks, people who rabidly object to sediment or tree removal, people who rabidly reject residential treatment facilities, people who rabidly support residential treatment facilities……dog park lovers, cars vs. bikes, hikers vs mountain bikers, tree huggers, fast food joints wanting to put in a drive-thru, nimbys, native vs non-native landscaping and trees, urban farmers vs people that don’t want bees and chickens next door, sanctuary city reconquistas, blah blah blah blah blah.

    This situation is such a cluster that development ends up proceeding because local government just goes ahead and does what it intended to to all along, citing federal or state mandates/matching funds. The developers are happy, the local pols are happy. The rest of us are like “WTF happened? I don’t even know what’s going on any more.”

    I can’t even imagine throwing a volatile “OMG CHILD ABUSE BURN THE WITCH” into the mix. I’ll watch with interest to see what happens.

  8. #8 |  Marty | 

    I can hear ‘twilight zone’ music in my head. I’ll be watching this one…

  9. #9 |  Weird Willy | 

    William Anderson,

    It seems you have demonstrated that the City of Citrus Heights is desperately land hungry, and that a land grab would certainly enrich the much-strapped coffers of Citrus Heights and Sacramento County. You have also detailed some of the particulars of a sale to Bayside Church that certainly seems irregular (I assume that Bayside Church would be one of the principals to benefit from subsequent redevelopment and an opportunity to run a “charitable” enterprise through the planned homeless shelter), as well as an official posture regarding the continued operation of the school that makes no sense absent some ulterior motive. What you have not done to my satisfaction (and that of some others), however, is tie those things together with a factual nexus that confirms the particular land grab in question.

    Please understand, I personally believe that you are probably right in your assessment. My experience with some of the land grabs currently being performed in Cuyahoga and Summit counties in Ohio makes it very, VERY easy to “fathom the depths of depravity required to orchestrate/facilitate” the scenario you describe, and imagine that the situation is precisely as you suspect. One such case involves a local market sitting on an incredibly choice, highly demanded, uniquely large parcel of land that the municipality is trying to swallow piece-by-piece, with the ultimate goal being to put the owners’ remainder in such a disadvantaged position that they will be forced to sell entirely. I have not been able to discover a singular ‘smoking gun’ that I could adduce to prove this fact to a court (or any other person or body committed to not being convinced), but I know it to be true, and it is the only rational explanation for the specific deeds and dishonesty of the municipality.

    So, believe me, I can sympathize with you and your position. That sympathy, however, does not necessarily convince me of your speculations without further development. Some of the passages in your post that make me itch for more data are, “…the City of Citrus Hill (sic) also would like to have the property,” “there is no doubt that…Citrus Heights officials sensed an opportunity for a land grab,” and “Citrus Heights…would like to use at least part of that property for a homeless shelter.” These statements virtually beg for more documentation, crying out for the provision of evidence to illustrate and support their conclusory aspects.

    You are right that “city officials in this country are notorious for stealing private land under flimsy pretenses.” And, as anyone with any experience in the matter knows fully well, city officials are also not above crafting or endorsing bogus prosecutions as a vicious expedient to those thefts. What I would like, and I think others would like as well, is just a little more specific evidence demonstrating the city’s actual agenda in this case. Can you provide that?

  10. #10 |  tariqata | 

    I agree that the prosecution of Robert Adams sounds egregious. That said, I have some background in community services planning, and the idea of a city engineering a land grab in order to put up a homeless shelter – even with the possibility of grant funds from the federal government – really, really conflicts with my experience, and I had to take a look at the linked plan.

    Can you point to what part of the document supports the claim that the city wants to build a homeless shelter on the property and intends to acquire it for that purpose? Beyond the vague statement, “the city will focus heavily on preservation of the existing housing stock through a variety of rehabilitation programs, including acquisition and rehabilitation of properties by the city”, I couldn’t find mention of any specific sites being targeted for affordable housing development in the document you linked. The housing element of the city’s general plan makes no mention of plans to build a local homeless shelter, either; Policy 28.2 (p. 37) just says that the city will continue to work with the Sacramento County Department of Housing Assistance to provide emergency shelter and supports.

  11. #11 |  el coronado | 

    Land grab via bullshit prosecution? Wouldn’t be the first time, especially in Kalifornia. Google ‘Donald Scott + DEA’ sometime.

  12. #12 |  Bernard | 

    Instinctively when people in public office commit egregiously immoral behaviour there’s something big in it for them. For prosecutors that’s the statistic of winning and the headlines from successfully prosecuting a high profile case. Its easy to see how that can drive people of a certain type to push cases well beyond what is just.

    For beauracrats kickbacks and personal aggrandisement are the name of the game. Its easy to see what a councillor might get from stealing land to serve up to a big developer.

    But I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a beauracrat who knowingly and evilly pressed to ruin a man, scare parents and get a school closed in order to build a homeless shelter (even allowing that it might get more federal funds to the council).

    For those with sufficiently loose morals crime of this sort is risk/reward. It could be that they wanted the land badly enough to create an elaborate hoax, but it would have to be for some more lucrative reason than this.

  13. #13 |  Christian | 

    @ #12, et al,

    It’s also important to remember that these types of legal “events” are often overdetermined. There is no singular cause, but a plurality of causes. Also, rather than conspiracy (though smallish ones exists in the Adams case) some aspects of the event are the result of opportunism.

    More than a decade ago, a few people with personal & financial motives attempted to bring a false case against Adams. It failed (which is saying something, given the power of so much as a whisper about potential child molestation).

    But, years later, when a couple other people tried the same thing, for their own personal reasons, the DA’s office then made the mistake of thinking that the second batch of false allegations gave credence to the first.

    Citrus Heights police then asked others to “come forward,” and then selectively chose to entertain allegations from former litigants against the school, and fired teachers, etc–at the exclusion of 35 years worth of child alumni, their parents, and dozens of teachers, all of whom said no abuse had ever occurred on their watch–police got exactly what they were looking for. Unfortunately, they also got what a reasonable person might expect–bald lies, for various personal and financial reasons.

    Further, once the prosecution was underway, then certain city officials/departments could also attempt to capitalize on the situation.

    In short, a few people conspired years ago to profit through a false case against Adams. Later, some other people tried, independently of the first group, and with their own motives, to profit from ruing Adams.

    The good news is this: the defense has the goods on these liars & frauds. The bad news for casual observers, of course, is that this is a legal case in-process. The defense has no obligation to show its cards and likely will not, until such time as its necessary to cut the legs out from the DA’s case right there on the courtroom floor.

    Prediction: it won’t get that far. The prosecution knows they were duped. They know, they no longer have the case that they thought they had. As I blogged a few days ago, their only hope now of saving face (always the prosecution’s primary concern) is to go after the felony liars who have been wasting the tax-funded time of social services, law enforcement, and the DA’s office, pursuing a false and malicious case against an innocent man while destroying his family and a 35-year-old business in the process.

    My two cents, at any rate.

  14. #14 |  Weird Willy | 

    Christian,

    Thank you for what is overall a very interesting and well reasoned contribution. I would point out, however, that there is not much good news here. Even if the prosecutor now drops the case against Adams, much of the damage has already been done. His business was shut down, his obligations went unserviced, and his property foreclosed as a result of malicious prosecution. If the city wants his land they should now be able to get it, and I gather from Mr. Anderson’s report that parties who might facilitate the transfer/dedicate the use of the property are now in possession of it. The city has been able to position itself to advantage, while Mr. Adams has lost the value and proceeds of his life’s work.

  15. #15 |  Links #112 « The Honest Courtesan | 

    […] California city prosecutes a school principal for “child molestation”  despite a complete lack of evidence in order to justify seizing the school, building a homeless shelter on its land and thereby scoring millions in federal funds. […]

  16. #16 |  Dan Adams | 

    Thank you Christian and William for taking an interest in this case. As for this being a potential for a land grab, on June 14, 2012 The City of Citrus Heights City Council Meeting (copy the link and look at video Item 14) http://www.citrusheights.net/home/index.asp?page=965&recordid=5822#minutes A slide show starting at the 3:00 mark is titled “Challenges Facing the City” the first area they are addressing is the “Major Decline In General Fund and Street Resurfacing Revenue” The City manager claims the City’s Revenue Declined $9.7 Million ($5.7 Million from the General Fund and $4 Million from Transportation).

    around the 45:10 minute mark (while discussing slide 37) Mr. Henry Tingle, Citrus Heights City Manger, states “we are a built out community” and do not have much raw land like our neighboring cities to develop. There are so many grant funds available for those cities who are clever enough to ask for them. These funds need to be used only on distressed or abandoned properties (foreclosure properties like CFS come to mind). A respected person, who has done contract work with the City of Citrus Heights overheard the city coveting the Creative Frontiers properties back in 2009 well before the manufactured school crises ever existed. The reason he remembered this was because his family was attending CFS. Hmmmm http://www.policylink.org/site/c.lkIXLbMNJrE/b.5137229/k.EACB/Financing.htm The city is also looking to “Provide for Innovative Opportunities for the Betterment of the Community” (47:15 Slide 37). This meeting was a month before the school property was foreclosed on. We have additional specifics, but we won’t be sharing at this time.

    Just a suggestion at 21:00 / Slide 20 Police Chief Christopher Boyd has his hand out looking to convince the City Council for an additional $1 Million annually for his department, sighting “Property Crime Rates are High” “Citrus Heights is Among the Highest in the State Based on our Populations” Maybe if your officers did not attend court hearings with no official business other than attempting to intimidate Bob Adams supporters, and patrolled the city streets instead, perhaps crime would go down?

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