Luman appeal hearing continues

MONO COURTHOUSEEvidence suddenly revealed, new concerns about conflicts of interest and surprising testimony – the Dick Luman appeal hearing in Mono County continues.

Mono County fired the 60-year-old Luman last October.  He had worked as a mechanic in the Road Department for 15 years. Luman says that Road Supervisor, Brett McCurry, assaulted him at work during a conversation among four people about what Luman described as McCurry’s “management by intimidation.” The County fired both Luman and McCurry. Luman requested an open appeal hearing which started in April and will continue through the end of the month with the next hearing scheduled for Monday.

At last week’s hearings, Risk Manager Rita Sherman testified and revealed that there were written notes by eye witnesses prepared the day of the incident in question.  Attorney Katie Bellomo did not know of the existence of one of those sets of notes.  Sherman produced notes made by Road Manager Jerry Vande Brake. He did not name Luman as the aggressor in the confrontation with McCurry.  In a later County investigation, Vande Brake changed his story.

When asked about the new evidence of written notes, Bellomo said, “I was floored.  Through all of the hearings, the County never produced these statements.  It’s very disturbing that they concealed this from me and from the Personnel Appeals Board.”  Bellomo said this raises the question of what other unrevealed evidence may exist that is relevant to Luman’s defense.

In other testimony, Jim Kerby of Public Works said that he listened to tapes of the interviews the County’s Insurance Investigator made of witnesses to the incident.  Kerby said that he compared the tapes to the transcript of the interviews and found discrepancies.

That same insurance report said that Vande Brake named Luman as the aggressor. Earlier, Vande Brake had said he couldn’t see who started the fight. Risk Manager Rita Sherman gave that report to Mono Sheriff’s Lieutenant Rob Weber who said he passed it on to a sergeant and the investigating deputy.

Lt. Weber testified that a supplemental Sheriff’s report was then issued.  He also said that Rita Sherman had called and asked if the Sheriff’s Department could make a finding as to who the aggressor was.  Weber said he ordered a second supplemental report.  The original Sheriff’s report said McCurry was the aggressor.  The supplemental reports said it was unclear who was the primary aggressor.

A District Attorney’s report on the whole fight incident was part of last week’s testimony.  DA Investigator Wade McCammond had interviewed Jim Kerby who said plainly that he saw McCurry assault Luman.  With reports and Kerby’s interview, McCammond concluded that it was a mutual fight.

Last week, Jim Kerby testified that when he met with McCammond they got into a conversation about their common interest of bow hunting.  Kerby confirmed that as he was leaving, McCammond said, in effect, “I hope you sue Mono County for what they’re doing.”  Mono County had earlier disciplined Kerby, alleging he lied about what he saw McCurry do to Luman.

The case gets more complex with news that Brett McCurry’s appeal hearing will take place in a closed procedure at the end of the month.  Sources say that choices for the appeal board include two close friends of McCurry.  We have emailed a request for comments from the employees union which made those selections.

Mono County Counsel John Vallejo had earlier said he could not comment on this case since it is a personnel matter in progress.


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18 Responses to Luman appeal hearing continues

  1. Justice and bucks June 18, 2012 at 6:32 am #

    Let’s see.
    Two grown men fighting in the workplace.
    They blame the administrators for not stopping them.
    The deck is stacked with anti-authority judges in a hearing.
    The attorney on the first day suggests an unlawful termination lawsuit.
    Fingers are crossed that somebody is going to get rich.

    • Reality Bites June 20, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

      Self defense is a right. You don’t have to submit to an illegal assault. You sound like a girley man who has never been in a fight.

  2. P&B June 18, 2012 at 6:54 am #

    This case is very sad, both Dick and Brett are good people only wanting to go to work each day and do a good job.

    The County has propagated a hostile environment and the casualties end up being the employees as a result of the resulting stress. Rita Sherman represents the worst that the Conty has and yet she continues to be promoted beyond her educational and mental abilities.

  3. Uncivil behavior June 18, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    It today’s civilized world, it is unacceptable for grown men to inflict violence on each other in the workplace. They should have “duked it out” at the Tiger Bar or out in the street someplace. ANYPLACE but the workplace. Any decent, respectable manager/supervisor would never tolerate this sort of childish, violent, BS. There should never be any precedent set allowing violence in the workplace. This gives a bad message to everyone. And now we have the same, tired “unlawful temination” story with people trying to turn a buck (most attorney’s get 1/3 of the settlement.

    • Big AL June 18, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

      Uncivil .. yeah there is a lot of mixed emotions and thoughts on this. according to civil rights now days, yeah there is zero tolerance for work place violence, for hairassment … ect …

      But you stopped short there in your argument.

      Saying .. go duke it out .. bust the guys chops out somewhere in the tiger bar or an alley … geeeze .. you do that now .. you get arrested, and you get charged for felony assault. and open yourself up for a civil lawsuit if you are the aggressor.

      Zero tolerance for violence in the work place goes hand in hand with other civil does and don’t s in regard to violence in general.

      I think sometimes .. a good old boxing match can go a long way to settling things, heck sometimes you end up being friends afterwards because all of the BS is out in the open and settled. LOL

  4. Finally June 18, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    “Justice and Bucks” has it right…..

    He is right….they need to fire Sherman and give the money to Luman and McCurry!

    A SHORT STORY with a happy ending!

  5. Scholl Bowl June 18, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    I was just wondering Bennett why you did not say more about Lt Webber memory problems? If you watched your own TV station you might have had a lot more to talk about in this story! Seems like a lot of the shady things that were brought out about the county were glased over, especially the truthfulness of Lt Weber.

    • Benett Kessler June 18, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

      My own TV station had nothing to do with this hearing. I stand by my story. My job is to reveal truths not to conceal them, so you may dispose of your self-righteous tone and call me if you have verifiable facts to share. 760-937-3295.
      Benett Kessler

      • Just the facts June 19, 2012 at 5:28 am #

        We live in unsettled times. Some people believe anybody in an authority position today must be the root of all our problems (especially when authority figures have a secure position and salary). Hence the tea party movement. When they run out of reasons to attack authority persons, they direct their anger towards the media (which they now refer to as the “liberal media”) . Their paranoia knows no boundaries. The postings on this subject clearly reveal the seething anger that is out there today. One wonders how many Timothy McVeighs are out there today prepared to act on their philosophy of “extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures” and believe the best approach is a return to to the Wild, Wild West days of yesteryear and boys will be boys with a penchant for violence directed toward each other and a childish “somebody should have stopped me” belief.
        A quick youtube search of tea party gatherings reveal there are tons of angst-ridden older and bitter citizens foaming at the mouth and ready to explode. Thankfully the younger citizens (the future) are aware of the nuttiness and are monitoring this movement very closely.

        • Don't be a Liberal Girly Man June 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

          Yet your beloved Flea Bagger Occupiers have no love for this Great Country. They burn American Flags and say F.. America. most recent eposide of this was in Oakland on June 11th.

          • What are you hiding? June 20, 2012 at 8:11 am #

            Persons secure with their sexual preference or orientation could care less about what gays do.

            Methinks people like “Liberal Girly Man” doth protest too much.

        • Not Scared to say it June 20, 2012 at 9:04 am #

          “anger” “paranoia” “wild wild west” attitude, “bitter citizens” I see it loud and clear, also the unwillingness to comprimise our admit to being wrong.

          Unsettled times? I agree.

          • Don't be a Liberal Girly Man June 20, 2012 at 10:41 am #

            Liberals don’t compromise plain and simple.

          • Wayne Deja June 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm #

            Not scared to say it….Thing is,now,how the tea-baggers and FOX NEWS followers are nowdays,nothing like the REAL Wild West,and how it used to be…Just like in my town,go for a cup of coffee in the morning,and there it is,just about everyday,a group of angry,bitter,grumpy “girly men”,sitting around a picnic table at 6 AM,complaining about Obama,blaming the liberals for every problem this Country has now….and getting ready for another big disappointment come November,whether they want to admit it or not….but at the same time,probably glad,beins another 4 years they all will have to complain and blame some more…on a daily basis.

  6. Nationalism gone berserk June 20, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    “When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.”
    – Sinclair Lewis

    Those who are addicted to the nasty talk-radio get their daily dose of “Liberals (aka Democrats) hate America !” believing they are the supreme Americans.

    Many have found their way unto this blog to vent their venomous and polarizing “Liberal Girly Man” hate-mongering B.S. This a very, very disturbing trend in this country today. Very similar to what was happening in Germany pre-WWII where nationalism went beserk.

    Thankfully, most of the posters on this blog are on their way out (if you know what I mean)
    Our young people (the future) view them as insane.

  7. Lost Soul June 20, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Facism was created by so few having control…..not by having a true democracy. Take a look at China…..Is this what you want? NO WAY JOSE!.

  8. Jeremiah June 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm #

    HEY GIRLY MAN! Take a look at Irelands current status and there policies (little taxes on the rich and corporations, cut public works, cut spending, extreme austerity) does that sound a lil familiar? they have 14% unemployment 30% youth unemployment rates.

    So keep typing like you listen to the ignorence that is out there, try not to soak so much of it up.

  9. jose chavez June 20, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    what makes stories like these more news worthy than others? i.e hispanic committee meetings… state when they meet and possible topics discussed, but no follow up story. its your show, so you can type and print what you like.


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