The former general manager of the Mountain Meadows Community Service District was sentenced Thursday to 90 days in jail and ordered to pay restitution after pleading no contest to a charge of conflict of interest by a public official in Kern County Superior Court.
Richard Williford is also barred from ever again holding public office in California as part of the terms of his sentence, according to a news release from the Kern County District Attorney's office. As part of the plea deal, 19 other felony charges against him were dismissed.
Williford was originally charged with 20 felony counts of embezzlement and conflict of interest after a 2016 Kern County grand jury report revealed he made more than $300,000 in purchases on behalf of the community services district from businesses he or his family members owned.
Williford also was paid $29,182 by the district as a consultant, the grand jury report found.
He will have to pay $137,184.57 in restitution, the DA's office said.
Mountain Meadows Community Service District was established in 1970 and consists of 697 parcels just south of Highline Road, between Dennison Road and Curry Street.
Each parcel owner pays a $200 annual assessment fee to help maintain the 27 miles of roads and address maintenance issues. Residents complained in early 2015 that those things weren't being done, and most of the district's equipment was either missing or in disrepair.
Williford was a member of the board of directors of Mountain Meadows Community Service District from January 2007 through September 2013.
“Violations of the public trust by officials will not go without consequence," said District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer in the news release. "The community depends on elected officials (to) serve the best interests of the community without concern for their personal financial interests. When this trust is breached, our Public Integrity Unit will investigate and, if appropriate, prosecute criminal misconduct by any elected or appointed public official."