MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — Embattled Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer missed his scheduled appearance in a Martinez courtroom Wednesday morning, where he was to be arraigned on allegations of “willful or corrupt” misconduct in office.
Defense attorney Michael Rains, who did not enter a plea on Kramer’s behalf, was under the impression that his client did not need to appear in court.
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Rains informed Judge Theresa Canepa that he intends to file a motion for the recusal of the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office at a later date.
Canepa scheduled that hearing for July 26, and told Rains that Kramer would definitely need to appear in court on that date.
Kramer was the subject of a grand jury accusation filed June 5 claiming he created a hostile and abusive work environment. Prosecutors say Kramer violated the state Fair Employment and Housing Act by making unwanted sexual remarks and racially disparaging comments to employees between 2013 and 2019.
District attorney’s office spokesman Scott Alonso said this is technically a civil matter, but it’s handled in criminal court for the purpose of a trial. After the grand jury accusation was issued, the district attorney’s office was responsible for serving it on Kramer.
“I welcome the opportunity to confront my accusers with the facts discovered by not one, not two, but THREE separate independent investigations that exonerate me of sexual harassment or hostile work place or retaliation by professionals hired by the county,” Kramer wrote in a statement published on his personal website June 7.
“When the facts are made public, the East Bay Times, the County Board of Supervisors, and their appointees on the county grand jury will be dutifully ashamed of themselves and their unwarranted and political persecution of the county assessor,” Kramer wrote.
Kramer has served as assessor since 1994.