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Merced County District Attorney Resigns

Days after rolling his truck, Gordon Spencer, the subject of several state investigations, announces his departure from office.

July 16, 2006|From the Associated Press

MERCED, Calif. — Merced County Dist. Atty. Gordon Spencer, the subject of multiple state investigations, abruptly resigned from office after he was injured in a truck crash.

His resignation Friday came two days after Spencer, 57, was released from Mercy Medical Center Merced after suffering a concussion when his truck flipped over and fell into a creek Monday.

"I have determined that I will retire earlier than I had previously announced," Spencer wrote to county administrators and supervisors.

Spencer, who was appointed district attorney in 1990 and ran unopposed four times, had said in December that he would retire in a year. Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. Larry Morse II, elected district attorney in June, is set to take office in January.

Spencer's announcement did not mention the state investigations, which a spokesman for the state attorney general's office said would continue.

The investigations began two months ago after the Merced Sun-Star reported that Spencer had collected about $57,000 in car and phone allowances over a seven-year period while using government equipment.

The state Office of Emergency Services said last month that Spencer had violated the terms of a grant to the county when he drove a sport utility vehicle he was not supposed to use.

The attorney general's office also is probing whether there were violations when Spencer and others bought property from a jailed man facing prosecution by the district attorney's office.

In December, Spencer was asked to take an ethics course when the attorney general found that Spencer had impersonated an investigator in September to help settle a dispute his son had with a cabinet company.

Also, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control was investigating whether Spencer had served alcohol to a minor at a Merced Golf and Country Club party in December.

"I told him I thought it was best for the county and for him that he retire early," Chief Deputy Dist. Atty. David Moranda said.

"He has many achievements to be proud of, and I wish him the best of luck. But it's time to move on in the office."

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