Key findings by Stanislaus County Grand Jury

December 22, 2009 

Hughson City Council members Thom Crowder, Doug Humphreys and Ben Manley violated the Brown Act by e-mailing all five council members between April and November. The law bars officials from communicating with each other about city business outside of public meetings.

• Crowder likely violated a political conflict of interest law by lobbying for street improvements within 500 feet of property he owns.

• Crowder likely violated a political conflict of interest law when he applied for a job with an ambulance company and advertised his "tremendous influence" with county elected officials to benefit the firm.

• Votes by Crowder, Humphreys and Manley to oust City Manager Joe Donabed likely were "pre-arranged."

• The grand jury concluded that Crowder, Humphreys and Manley "promoted their own agenda against the best interests of the citizens of Hughson."

Source: Stanislaus County civil grand jury

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