In 2020, the Marin Agricultural Land Trust (MALT) sued the County of Marin.
The lawsuit was filed to prevent the release of documents that would have shed light on two pivotal events:
- The resignation of MALT Director of Conservation Jeff Stump, after allegations were made that MALT had illegally facilitated a conflict-of-interest transaction for a sitting MALT board member, and
- MALT’s subsequent return of an $833,250 Measure A grant that MALT used to execute that transaction. (“Marin land trust returns $833K to county over appraisal gap,” July 7, 2020)
Commenting on MALT’s lawsuit, the IJ Editorial Board wrote:
The public and political obligations that should come with the use of taxpayer money are certainly contrary to MALT suing the county to block public access to pertinent information.
Sadly, the initial request for the documents in question - submitted by a private citizen - was withdrawn due to the financial barrier of fighting the deep-pocketed MALT in court.
Measure A is up for renewal in June. It includes an increase in funding for MALT: $23,000,000 over nine years.
Before we are asked to vote for this increase, however, the ethical fog that follows MALT must be cleared and the following questions must be answered:
- Was Jeff Stump fired from MALT and silenced with an NDA to cover up MALT’s fraudulent use of Measure A funds?
- Was MALT’s return of the Measure A grant a further attempt to minimize exposure to the asserted legal allegations?
Until the documents are produced, the public should vote “NO” on Measure A. If MALT has - as accused - truly defrauded Measure A of over $4,000,000, we must not fund it again.
The IJ Editorial Board wrote, “MALT should be as open and transparent in its work as possible as an obligation to its donors and taxpayers.”
MALT has done the opposite.
Vote “NO” on Measure A until MALT releases the documents.