A former executive at a California tax agency alleges that he was punished for cooperating with criminal and financial investigations into the Board of Equalization and has decided to appeal his recent termination. Mark DeSio, who was the agency’s former communications director, claims in his complaint that he was threatened by elected Board of Equalization Member Jerome Horton for providing information to auditors. Horton has denied the allegations and claims that he had nothing to do with the termination. DeSio has identified himself in his complaint as a source for the March audit conducted by the Department of Finance that eventually prompted lawmakers to gut the Board of Equalization, transferring most of its responsibilities and employees to a new tax-collecting department.
As communications director, DeSio supervised employees in Sacramento and around the state at different Board of Equalization offices. According to the complaint, he reported to auditors and to criminal investigators from the state Department of Justice that some of those employees had been misused by the agency for promotional events that had little to do with tax collection. DeSio was dismissed in September by Nick Maduros, the director of the new tax-collecting department, and he is asking the State Personnel Board to reinstate him and raise his pay. DeSio claims that other Board of Equalization executives warned him that he was risking his job by attempting to cut the amount of money the agency spent on promotional events. We will have to wait and see if DeSio’s allegations are true or false.
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