Attorneys for Mono Deputy file damage claim

monocourthouse2008In a claim for damages filed Monday against Mono County and Mono Sheriff’s officers, attorneys for Deputy Jon Madrid allege systematic retaliation against their client for blowing the whistle on illegal behavior and policies in the Sheriff’s Department.

The claim goes against Mono County, the Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Ralph Obenberger and former Lieutenant David O’Hara individually, along with many others, including former Sheriff Rick Scholl. If the Board of Supervisors denies the claim, Madrid’s lawyers say they will file a lawsuit.

The claim says that in the last several years, Madrid engaged in numerous acts of whistle-blowing to expose wrongdoing by employees of the Mono Sheriff’s Department, including mishandling of jail inmate medications and falsification of a report. The claim alleges that in response to his Lieutenant O’Hara “issued a written directive to Madrid that he not report crimes or emergencies or personally render assistance to those in need while off-duty.” The claim says O’Hara told Madrid, “Short of a homicide, you will refrain from reporting minor incidents to dispatch. You will also refrain from intervening in minor incidents while off duty.”

The claim says Madrid was denied his Advanced P.O.S.T. Certificate and pay increase in retaliation for his whistle-blowing. The claim goes on to say that O’Hara was overheard threatening Madrid’s job. It says Madrid reported this to then Undersheriff Obenberger who took no action. The claim says O’Hara was overheard saying, “It’s time to play whack-a-mole with Madrid.”

Attorneys for Madrid claim that Sheriff’s administration took several actions based on retaliation, including interrogation of Madrid about his personal finances and relationships, gradual elimination of his special assignments and finally accusations that Madrid claimed ten hours of time he never worked.

Madrid was eventually terminated but called back to the Department to sit in a chair all day with no gun, badge or ID. Madrid finally appealed his firing. The claim says Sheriff Obenberger then sent Madrid a letter accusing him of abandoning his job even though Madrid’s physician ordered him off work and out of the chair.

An Arbitrator recently cleared Madrid of any wrongdoing and ordered his reinstatement with all pay. The County has so far not obeyed the order. Madrid’s claim says, “Defendants’ unreasonable refusal to reinstate Madrid, as ordered by a mutually agreed-upon arbitrator, is further evidence of Defendants’ harassment and retaliation against Madrid.”

The claim asks for all unlawfully withheld wages and benefits and all damages plus recovery of attorney’s fees and costs. Neither Sheriff Obenberger nor former Sheriff Scholl has responded to our questions about the claim.

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6 Responses to Attorneys for Mono Deputy file damage claim

  1. Citizen Kane March 6, 2013 at 12:52 am #

    I think that Madrid will look good living in Obenberger’s former home.

  2. Lone Ranger Returns March 5, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    The Board of Supervisors need to determine if either County Counsel gave bad advice or if Mr. Obenberger failed or refused to follow their advice. You can’t tell me that they let this whole thing unravel without County Counsel’s involvement.

    “That all things change, but the truth, and the truth alone lives on forever”

  3. Citizen Kane March 5, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    This is one time that I really hope I get picked for jury duty!

  4. Hypocrisy March 5, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    Ok Board of Supervisors! I think this calls for a press release!

    Like Obenberger needing to get the tax payer’s their dollars by abusing Madrid in a chair, how about we get our money’s worth out of this one?

  5. Big Rick OBrien March 5, 2013 at 5:59 am #

    NOT report crimes or emergencies OR render assistance to those in need while off-duty ?? THAT’S WHAT COPS (real cops) DO!!! Didn’t the brand new Sheriff do exactly THAT a few weeks back when he stopped to help the stranded LASO search and rescue personnel and had their vehicle towed back to L.A. AND, had them stay at his home. He sure had everyone fooled with that one..making himself out to look like a stand-up guy and by reading all the crap that goes on behind the scenes, we know he’s NOT. Probably wrote the press release himself…

  6. Observer March 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    Sounds like the Mono County Sheriff’s Office has fully embraced the Peter Principle.


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