Nancy Hoover and Tom Shepard were sentenced to three years' probation Friday for channeling thousands of dollars in illegal contributions to former Mayor Roger Hedgecock's political campaigns.
Municipal Court Judge Robert J. Stahl called the sentence a "fair and just resolution of the case." Hoover and Shepard were sentenced after reaching a plea bargain with prosecutors.
Hoover was sentenced on one felony count, which can be reduced to a misdemeanor after successfully serving the first year of probation. Shepard was sentenced on one misdemeanor count.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Charles Wickersham agreed to drop 14 additional felony and misdemeanor counts against both defendants in exchange for their guilty pleas.
In addition to probation, Hoover must pay a $10,000 fine, at the rate of $833.33 a month, and complete 350 hours of community work. Hoover, who recently married a wealthy Santa Barbara businessman, must also "seek employment, education or training" during her three-year probation.
Shepard was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine and do 200 hours of community work. George Wetzel, Shepard's attorney, said that his client was full of remorse over what he had done and has lost his car and condominium because of his legal problems.
Hoover's attorney, Dwight Worden, said that Hoover also was remorseful. Arguing that the case has been an "ordeal" for Hoover, Worden said that she also "has to live with the stigma of the plea that she has entered."
"If there was any way that she could turn the clock back . . . believe me, she would," Worden said. " . . . (But) she has a good husband and a good family who gave her a lot of support. She has a genuine desire to do good on probation."
J. David (Jerry) Dominelli, Hoover's former live-in companion and business partner, was charged along with Hoover and Shepard. Dominelli pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in February and was sentenced to a two-year prison sentence. The sentence is to run concurrently with a 20-year federal sentence imposed on him for defrauding investors of millions of dollars through his J. David & Co. investment firm.
Worden alluded to the J. David case and told Stahl that "this is no J. David case. It's difficult for people to keep this in mind."
Stahl agreed and said that he had "been laboring under the same public view of the case." But Stahl said that, after reviewing the probation reports and plea bargain, "we come off with a different set of facts in my judgment than the public perception." Stahl noted that Wickersham, who successfully prosecuted Hedgecock, forcing him to resign as mayor, supported the plea agreement and probation for Hoover and Shepard.
After the hearing Wickersham told reporters that he was glad to finally be "closing the book in this case."
Hedgecock was convicted by a jury last year and forced from office. He is appealing that conviction.