By KAREN VELIE
If you were one of the donors to former San Luis Obispo County Supervisor Adam Hill’s campaign in 2020, then along with the SLO County Deputy Sheriff’s Association you probably helped pay for his criminal defense attorney.
After FBI agents raided Hill’s Shell Beach home and his office in the county government center in March 2020 as part of a corruption investigation, Hill spent $40,000 in campaign funds on attorney Robert Sanger. Sanger, who helped Michael Jackson win a not-guilty verdict for child molestation, represents Kristin Smart murder suspect Paul Flores.
Following the FBI raid, Hill spent more than 75 percent of the $59,409 in his campaign chest on his legal defense, $40,000 to Sanger and $5,000 to Kaufman Legal Group.
While the California Fair Political Practices Commission permits candidates to spend campaign funds for attorney fees, the fees “may only be paid with campaign funds if
the litigation is directly related to activities of the committee that are consistent with its primary objectives.” Campaign funds cannot be legally used for personal purposes.
In addition to funding his criminal defense, Hill paid his administrative assistant and girlfriend Nicole Nix $7,500 out of his campaign funds in 2020, according to Hill’s financial disclosure reports.
In 2020, when the union representing SLO County Sheriff correctional staff and dispatchers donated $5,000 to Hill’s campaign, FBI agents were investigating jail staff for allegedly violating inmates’ civil rights.
On Aug. 4, 2020, the Kaufman Legal Group returned $1,936 of their $5,000 retainer to Hill’s campaign committee, according to one of Hill’s financial disclosure reports. Sanger said he is prohibited from discussing the $40,000 retainer Hill paid him.
While under investigations for bribery, involving marijuana mogul Helios Dayspring and alleged sexual misconduct with his administrative assistant Nix, Hill committed suicide with an overdose of cocaine and antidepressants on Aug. 6 2020.
As part of a July 28, 2021 plea agreement, Dayspring admitted to paying thousands of dollars in bribes to Hill for favorable votes on his cannabis business interests.