Hanford

Ex-Top DA investigator sues Kings Co. over alleged harassment from Fagundes

Former Kings County District Attorney Chief Investigator Robert Waggle followed through on a lawsuit against his former employer – the County of Kings – claiming harassment, retaliation, and failure to comply with key California labor laws.

The complaint, initially filed in Kings County Superior Court earlier in September, arrives after a government claim for damages was rebuffed by members of the Kings County Board of Supervisors.

The claim alleged that Kings County District Attorney Keith Fagundes made repeated sexual advances and engaged in sexual harassment toward the 10-year DA’s office veteran following his divorce three years ago.

The claim, filed with Kings County and California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Waggle alleged that a pattern of sexual advances and harassment began when Fagundes offered a rent-free apartment to Waggle near his home.

The lawsuit against Kings County included a number of new allegations not originally included in the government claim, ranging from severe claims of professional misconduct to minor, if confounding, alleged offenses.

Misconduct allegations include claims that Fagundes tampered with evidence in a criminal jury trial, interfered in prosecutions to grant leniency or stiffer charges for defendants with whom the DA had a personal relationship, and leveraged personal relationships with other agencies to subvert protocols for investigations.

Waggle also claimed that Fagundes “knowingly submitted inaccurate information” on official documents to be included in CLETS, California’s criminal records database.

The former DA investigator also claimed that Fagundes steered government funding “to directly benefit his immediate family members in their private businesses.”

Other allegations range from Fagundes regularly violating County HR policies to creating his own parking space in a parking lot with paint.

In a statement, representatives for Fagundes shrugged off the new claims in the lawsuit, noting that Kings County’s top law enforcement officer was not named in the suit.

“This is all just a bunch of crap being brought by L.A. lawyers trying to roll the taxpayers,” attorney John Sarsfield said in conversation with The Sun, noting that Waggle did not sue Fagundes personally. “They don’t want to withstand the defense Keith would bring.”

Sarsfield said that it came to the attention of Fagundes’ camp that, since exiting county service, Waggle has attempted to get back to work in some capacity as a private eye.

“He claims he’s too emotionally distressed to work at the DA’s office, but can be a private investigator?” Sarsfield said. “What contrived crap.”

Read the lawsuit

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at alex.tavlian@sjvsun.com.