2017-10-12 / Front Page

Cox case has chickens, Henry VIII, more money for state


Jerry Cox Jerry Cox Pigs, chickens, privileged invoices, security concerns and even Henry the VIII were all part of a court hearing last week involving a high-profile case in which a local man had his property seized by the state.

The case involves Jerry Cox, owner of JD Land Company, which operated Bison Creek Ranch before the Mariposa County Superior Court ordered the property into receivership.

That means the state takes control of the property.

The court ruled there were more than 100 health and safety violations on the property. It also appointed a receiver to handle the matter.

Two weeks ago, the court ordered the receiver could obtain $70,000 to continue to maintain security and do other duties at the property.

Last week, the receiver, Mark Adams, was requesting an additional $110,000 to continue security as well as determine the future plan for the property.

Randolph Krbechek, the Fresno attorney representing Cox, told Mariposa County Superior Court Judge Dana Walton last week the “scope” of the security being requested was “vastly in excess” of what was necessary.

“There is no need for that degree of security,” said Krbechek.

Krbechek said there are only five buildings on the 437 acres, which is located on CYA Road north of the airport in Mariposa County.

Two of those structures are barns, said Krbechek, and the three other structures are boarded up.

Krbechek also brought up a request by the law firm of Silver & Wright of Irvine, which is representing Mariposa County in the matter. The County, in turn, acts on behalf of the state of California through the superior court.

In a July 28 letter to the receiver, the law firm demanded $93,811 in what it called “reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs to date.”

The letter outlined various tasks performed, including analyzing state and local regulations, filing various paperwork, research and more.

However, the letter also said that “Silver and Wright’s legal in- voices are privileged and are therefore not included with this demand. We trust that the description of the work performed above is sufficient to support the County’s attorneys’ fees and costs incurred to date in this matter.”

That’s when Krbechek referred to Henry VIII, saying the king had “set up special court” to keep things secret and that’s one of the reasons the founders of America fought for the country to be formed.

“There is no secret justice,” said Krbechek.

He then said by his best estimate, the law firm was asking for $100 a page for the documents filed in court but were saying “we don’t have to tell you what we did. That is improper.”

Another matter brought before the court was a claim by the hired security company that Cox’s alleged girlfriend harassed the guards when she went to take possession of chickens and pigs on the property.

In a court filing dated Sept. 7, one of the security guards submitted a written statement about the incident.

Julian Lemus of Pipkin Detective Agency in Visalia, the firm hired by Adams to guard the property, said on Aug. 4, Ashley Sierra Chupinski, came to the property to get the pigs and chickens. The guard said he did allow Chupinski and another person on the land.

He claims Chupinski attempted to bait the guards into “negative actions.”

At one point, he claims the man who was with Chupinski told her to “shut the f*** up” and do what she was there to do.

Krbechek claims the receiver is trying to magnify the situation at the ranch, saying “a lady got chickens and pigs and they didn’t like what she said.” He said that was the only documented evidence submitted by the state.

Krbechek also again raised the criminal case that was brought against Cox. In that case, he was charged with 15 felonies related to allegations of sexual misconduct. That case was dropped Aug. 14 and Krbechek claims the defense in the receivership case brought it up continually, tainting the case.

He said the “entire proceedings” were based on the rape charges.

“The bell can’t be unrung,” said Krbechek.

He then pointed out there were three bailiffs in court during the hearing last week, which is more than on normal court days. Cox’s case was the only one heard during the Wednesday, Oct. 11 hearing.

He said the extra security was “all brought about by the initial allegations.”

“The defendant continues to bring this up,” said attorney William F. Kelly, who was representing Mariposa County in the matter. “It has not tainted the case.”

Kelly also reminded the court the receivership case has already been ruled upon and the present proceedings are to determine if the court will allow the receiver to continue to borrow money to make improvements on the property. That money is the liability of Cox, who would be responsible for the funds once any work is completed. That also includes the security and other costs associated with the property.

Adams, the receiver, told the court he expects to submit a “rehabilitation or demolition plan” by this month.

He did say as for security costs, they are “experimenting with drones” on the property. Also, he said once works starts, either demolition or rehabilitation, it is expected the security costs will be reduced.

Also concerning security, Adams said in other cases he worked out agreements with the owners “who wouldn’t attempt to come on the property.”

He then claimed there was “too much testing” of the crews at the property, apparently a reference to various videos which have been shot and uploaded on websites by people who have been near the property.

In fact, Adams said he was considering “increasing the cost of security.”

He said Cox and some of his associates have been “posting my picture on Facebook.”

He said he believed they were trying to “intimidate me and my staff.”

So much so, he said he “may need security for my office.”

“That’s a First Amendment right,” countered Krbechek.

He also said there are no allegations of “any threats.”

Krbechek also said he and Adams “and his bodyguard” had a discussion about security at the ranch. However, nothing came of that discussion.

The attorney also addressed how quickly the matter has proceeded.

“Everything about this is about how fast we can go,” said Krbechek.

He said he would “not agree” to the “expedited scheduling.”

Krbechek then turned the matter over to Imran Khaliq, the personal attorney to Cox who is assisting with the case.

Khaliq again referred back to the criminal case, saying Cox had spent a “small fortune” defending, and ultimately exonerating, himself.

“Imagine putting yourself in this man’s position,” said Khaliq.

Judge Walton then weighed into the matter, saying the County “attempted to work with Mr. Cox” in the receivership case, adding that has been going on for several years, well before the criminal case.

Walton also addressed that matter.

“I’ve never taken that (criminal case) into consideration,” he said.

He also said the evidence presented before last week’s hearing was “an attempt to re-litigate” the case. He said even if he had that evidence he “would have made the same decision” to place the property in receivership.

Krbechek also asked the court to allow for video evidence as well as to let Cox take the stand.

The judge said he didn’t need to see videos and trusted the statements made by the experts in the case about the condition of the property.

The judge did say he had “concerns” about the security situation at the ranch. He said “family and children” of the security guards were on the property and said that would be “no more.”

He also said the security guards could not be using the ATV that belongs to Cox. He said the ATV should be returned to Cox.

Walton said if “Cox agrees” to be willing to waive any liability, the receiver may be able to “reduce” or even “eliminate” the security costs. He told the lawyers to discuss that issue.

Then the judge said it is his hope the work on the property can be completed quickly.

“The faster we can get Mr. Cox back in, that’s my goal,” said Walton.

He then ended the hearing.

Walton did allow the receiver to get another $110,000, bringing the total allowed to around $200,000.

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