>Sonora / Tuolumne News, Sports, & Weather, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, Jamestown | Union Democrat

News Classifieds Web
web powered by Web Search Powered by Google

Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Ex-fire chief prelim slated

Ex-fire chief prelim slated

Columbia Fire Protection District’s former chief pleaded not guilty Wednesday to embezzling nearly $5,000 from the district.

Randall Allan Nickley, 50, of Sonora, appeared in Tuolumne County Superior Court for arraignment on two felony counts accusing him of stealing money from a public fund established for purchasing firefighting equipment and other needs.


A preliminary examination was also scheduled. Nickley’s attorney initially opposed it, saying prosecutors hadn’t provided all the evidence she requested.

Attorney Vangie Eidsvik-Garza, of Coulterville, told Assigned Superior Court Judge Edward Forstenzer that District Attorney Michael Knowles gave her a disc supposed to contain some of the items she requested and wanted more time to review it.

“I asked to continue this for about a week at the District Attorney’s and court’s discretion so I can go through new discovery and see if this should even go to prelim,” she said.

Knowles asked that the preliminary examination be set within 10 days from Wednesday’s hearing.

“We will gleefully ask the court to set a prelim in the next 10 days and we’ll be ready to go,” he said. “This is a probable cause hearing and full discovery is not required.”

Both sides ended up agreeing to set the preliminary examination for Nov. 28 after some discussion.

Nickley, who was hired as fire chief in December 2002, is accused of taking money from an account set up for firefighters to use at their discretion for certain needs. The account is separate from fire district’s general fund and not reported to the county.

According to court documents, Nickley deposited a check for $27,616.62, donated by the Lyle R. Scott Revocable Trust, into the unreported account in October 2007 and began writing personal checks.

He later admitted to investigators that a $2,000 check was a personal loan to his wife for covering debts from her previous marriage and another $1,100 check was for a security deposit payment on his house, the court documents state.

Nickley is also accused of writing a $500 check, but he wasn’t able to remember what that was for, the documents showed.

Also, Nickley overpaid himself about $1,100 in monthly stipends, even after the district board of directors voted to reduce the stipends and firefighters agreed to divert their shares to the district’s general fund, according to the documents.

The alleged misconduct was discovered by the board of directors through an internal investigation after they received complaints Nickley responded to a call-for-service with alcohol on his breath and placed him on administrative leave in June 2011, board President Stan Steiner told The Union Democrat in late August.

Nickley was arrested Aug. 23 on a felony warrant at his home on the 11300 block of McKellar Drive. Prior to his arrest, sheriff’s detectives searched his home and uncovered various pieces of equipment and electronics belonging to the Columbia Fire Protection District that were never returned, court documents said.

Follow UnionDemocrat.com

Get Today's Top Headlines to your inbox

The Union Democrat print edition

The Union Democrat 11/28/15

View Paper

The Union Democrat is now online in a Replica E-edition form and publishes Tuesday through Saturday. E-Edition or Print Plus subscribers have full access.


If you are not a current subscriber, subscribe today for immediate access. Circulation: 209-533-3614

View all The Union Democrat print publications

Weekender by The Union Democrat

Weekly Arts and entertainment guide for Calaveras and Tuolumne counties

Weekender 11/26/15

View Guide

Available online every Friday or get it early in Thursday's print edition.

View past copies of the weekender

Local / Sports / Business / Stocks / News of Record / State / Nation/World / Obituaries / Submit News
Editorials / Letters
Union Democrat Photos / Community Photos /
Search Classifieds / Jobs / Autos / Homes / Rentals / Place an Ad
Online Extras
Weather / Local Business Links / Community Links / Photo Reprints
Union Democrat
About / Contact / Commercial Printing / Subscriptions / Terms of Use / Site Map

© Copyright 2001 - 2015 Western Communications, Inc. All rights reserved. By Using this site you agree to our Terms of Use