Courts & Crime

Report backs claims of bad behavior by Merced County tax collector

Graphic sex talk, nepotism and retaliation against employees are all detailed in an investigative report on one of Merced County's leaders -- who's been at the helm of a seemingly dysfunctional department for several years.

Karen Adams, treasurer-tax collector, clerk and registrar of voters, is facing at least a reprimand from the Board of Supervisors during today's meeting since several claims against her, including creating a hostile work environment, have been substantiated by an independent investigator, the law firm Liebert Cassidy Whitmore.

Two agenda items will deal with the issue during the meeting. One calls for Adams to be censured, the other for her to be stripped of some of her duties.

Work on the report started around the first of the year. It was released to county administration in July and includes several employee accounts of Adams' language and behavior -- much of it odd and inappropriate in the workplace.

Adams, who's hired an attorney, released a written statement Monday about the allegations.

She went into little detail when reached by phone. "The complaint findings lack competent evidence and have not been substantiated," she wrote in an emailed statement.

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