Sacto 9-1-1
April 14, 2011
Sacramento County DA, grand jury probe Isleton pot-growing plans

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

The Sacramento County grand jury and District Attorney Jan Scully have launched a probe of plans by Isleton to allow a massive medical marijuana growing operation to open in the small Delta town, The Bee has learned.

Isleton officials - from the city council to the police chief - were served with subpoenas issued Wednesday night and have been told to appear before the grand jury as witnesses starting April 27.

The officials said they know little about the investigation other than it is apparently aimed at the city's deal with Delta Allied Growers, which plans to open a 4,000-square-foot cannabis growing operation in Isleton and has agreed to pay 3 percent of its proceeds - or at least $25,000 a month - to city coffers.

City officials say the growing operation is legal under the state's medical marijuana law and that they believe the investigation is designed to look into rumors of backroom deals during the planning process.

"I've heard rumors that they think we made some sort of agreement where they build a housing development and we let them have the pot farm or something," Councilman Robert Jankovitz said.

Plans for the growing operation were approved last year and construction of the facility, which will be an indoor growing operation with full-time security, already has begun, officials said.

Jankovitz said there had been some concerns over the plans for the facility as well as a separate approval for a medical marijuana dispensary that has yet to open.

"There was plenty of concern," he said, "but it's a legal business and we treated it as such. They've paid development fees and committed to $25,000 a month.

"They own one piece of land and they've got a lease with an option to buy, from what I believe. We tried to do everything right and aboveboard in the development agreement. They were required to do everything in a legal manner, otherwise, according to the agreement, we can shut them down."

Delta Allied officials could not immediately be reached for comment today.

Councilwoman Elizabeth Samano said she was handed a subpoena as she walked into a city meeting Wednesday night and that rumors about the probe are that investigators believe "that somebody was rubbing somebody's back."

"I don't know what the details are, and this is the first that I've heard it's really gone to the DA and outside our area," she said.

Shelly Orio, spokeswoman for District Attorney Jan Scully, said her office does not comment on grand jury investigations.

The subpoenas direct witnesses to appear before the panel at the Sacramento County Courthouse starting April 27. Isleton officials have scheduled a public meeting Friday at 7 p.m. to discuss the issue.

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