BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - California City‘s former Fire Chief Justin Vincent filed a lawsuit Tuesday night against the city, accusing officials of collusion and retaliation.
Vincent is claiming city officials were involved in collusion with marijuana businesses, that he was offered bribes and wrongfully pushed out.
He said it all started December 18, 2017 when he was terminated from his job, one day after he assisted with a marijuana bust.
Shortly after his termination, he showed 23ABC a performance evaluation from former city manager Tom Weil. In the review, Vincent exceeded expectations in every category on November 21, 2017, less than a month before he was fired.
Since his termination, many in the community have spoken out in his favor.
The lawsuit claims City Manager Bob Stockwell wanted him to be lenient on marijuana grow businesses, regardless if buildings were up to fire code because of the positive revenue impact on the city.
The suit also claims Mayor Jennifer Wood said Vincent’s marijuana safety recommendations would be too “costly,” and that Public Works Director, Craig Plat said during a meeting that Vincent was going to “kill the town.”
According to Vincent, he turned down, “bribes from marijuana business owners,” and reported the pressure from both the marijuana business owners and city officials to the city’s Human Resource Department but nothing was done.
23ABC reached out to everyone who Vincent made accusations against and haven’t heard back. According to Vincent's lawsuit documentation, he is not asking for his job back but wants no less than $1,000 in compensation from the city.