The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

June 22, 2011
Former CCPOA president Don Novey files bankruptcy

Don Novey, the former head of the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, has filed for bankruptcy in Sacramento's federal court.

A May 17 court filing (see the link below) provides a window into the life of the former military intelligence officer and amateur boxer who has been credited with building one of the most powerful labor organizations in California. It also hints at what happened after CCPOA and Novey split amid accusations he had breeched his consulting contract with the union.

Reached today by phone, Novey declined comment. "I can't talk to you," he said.

Novey and his wife, Carol, filed for Chapter 13 protection, stating that their liabilities total $630,000 against assets of about $354,000. From December through May, which is the period of time the bankruptcy court is considering their income, Don Novey has earned an average $28,205 per month,which works out to an annualized earnings of about $338,470. Much of that income is exempt from creditors' claims.

That's down significantly from his 2008 income of $673,443 and the $576,225 he made in 2009.

Among the Novey's debts: $55,000 in federal taxes, another $27,000 in taxes owed to the state and unsecured debt of $181,000. Most of that is revolving lines of credit, but it also includes $20,000 owed to CCPOA from an "arbitration award," the bankruptcy filing shows.

Apparently that's money that Novey is paying after the union terminated his three-year, $150,000-per-year consulting contract late 2009 and then sued him. CCPOA alleged that Novey had spent time and used resources for other clients that should have been dedicated to CCPOA matters.

At the time, Novey linked the termination to his public criticism of CCPOA leaders' decision to suspend four retired union members. He also was publicly critical of the union's decision to hire a parolee, a move that was eventually upheld by the state's Office of Inspector General.

Mike Jimenez , CCPOA's current president, declined to comment on the Novey lawsuit during a May interview, citing terms of the stipulated settlement.

Novey's bankruptcy filing shows he's taken some real estate hits, too. He owes about $272,000 on loan taken out in 2009 on a Rocklin home he first purchased in 37 years ago. In 2006 Novey bought a condo in Scottsdale, Ariz., for $154,500. He still owes about $95,000 on it, but it's valued at just $48,000, according to the bankruptcy filing.

Novey, 63, retired from the CCPOA presidency in 2002 after more than 20 years in command. During his watch, union membership exploded as California built dozens of new prisons. Novey amped up the group's influence by using the millions its members provided to sponsor tough-on-crime ballot measures, elect legislators, punish political enemies and back union-friendly gubernatorial candidates.

But the falling out with his former union and his advice to several of his law enforcement clients to back GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman last year instead of the eventual winner, Democrat Jerry Brown, dinged Novey's reputation.

The case is scheduled for a hearing Thursday in Judge Thomas Holman's courtroom at 10:30 a.m.

Click here to download the 50-page bankruptcy filing.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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