FBI agents interviewing SLO County officials

By KAREN VELIE

FBI agents have interviewed four San Luis Obispo County supervisors in their homes in the last five days, county officials say.

The interviews lasted as little as 30 minutes and as long as three hours. Agents asked the supervisors about process, harassment and corruption, county officials say. The specifics of the FBI investigation have not been released by federal authorities.

For years, however, people involved in development and cannabis businesses have alleged a group of consultants, politicians and goverment staffers have participated in pay-to-play schemes, which CalCoastNews has exclusively reported. The allegations are widespread, and include city and county governments.

Amid allegations of pay-to-play regarding the approval of marijuana retail shops in Grover Beach, then-councilwoman Debbie Peterson resigned in Feb. 2019, noting widespread corruption. She later accused former Mayor John Shoals and current Mayor Jeff Lee of taking bribes. Both Lee and Shoals denied the allegations.

Earlier this year, FBI agents raided Grover Beach Mayor Jeff Lee’s home, said several Grover Beach city sources, who asked not to be disclosed. Lee did not respond to requests for comment regarding the alleged raid.

During the early morning hours of March 11, FBI agents served a search and seizure warrant under seal to the County of San Luis Obispo. Agents then searched Supervisor Adam Hill’s office on the fourth floor, a county official said. Hours after the search, Hill was taken to Arroyo Grande Hospital following a suicide attempt. He was released on March 12 after being placed on a psychiatric hold following a reported overdose, according to county sources.

Agents searched Hill’s Pismo Beach home the same day that agents searched his office. The last agent left the Hill home around noon, said a photographer for CalCoastNews parked outside Hill’s home.

On March 30, Hill confirmed he attempted suicide earlier in the month, which he attributed to the stresses of running for office and ongoing mental health issues.

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