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My Criminal Complaint Against Atherton Appointed and Elected Officials

Original post made by John P. Johns, CPA, another community, on Apr 27, 2010

I received confirmation from the District Attorney that my criminal complaint over public corruption within Atherton is being investigated by Mr. Ivan Groshuser.

I know from personal experience that Inspector Groshauser is very deliberate in performing his duties. He spent nine months investigating me pursuant to a referal from by the Town of Atherton on allegations of fraud. (This was before the Town saw the error of its ways and issued a resolution of commendation for my meretorious service.)

I also know that Mr. Groshauser has a long professional relationship with two former senior law enforcment officials in Atherton who, amongst others in Town are the subject of my criminal complaint.

I urge Mr. Groshauser to abide by the motto "justice is blind" and to avoid letting his personal and professional relationships to get in the way of getting to the bottom of this matter.

I also call upon Chief Guerra to tell the DA to "let the chips fall where they may". By doing so, Chief Guerra would go a long way towards restoring the trust of the community in the Atherton PD.

Comments (26)

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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 27, 2010 at 10:22 am

John, I'm sorry to say I think you're whistling dixie. Stephen Wagstaffe has created a real problem in this county. He has gotten so cozy with senior law enforcement officials that when he needs to step into his role of "who watches the watchers", he can't do a credible job. I know this from personal experience, since (despite his current prevarications), he refused to turn over a police report to my attorney (a constitutional right) because the Atherton police chief asked him not to. This isn't policy, or justice, but just politics. When Atherton/Brennan wanted to "go after you", a nine month investigation was conducted to intimidate you and try to run out the statute of limitations on civil claims you had. That's Wagstaffe over investigating based on law enforcement requests. I believe he will also under investigate for the same reasons. I expect my predictions to prove out (including in his current "investigation" of which Atherton cop falsified my police report - even though he's even being sued over this himself).

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Posted by RayofSunshine
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 27, 2010 at 12:25 pm

A comment to Jon Buckheit, a resident of the Atherton: West Atherton neighborhood.....When I first read about your "false arrest for Domestic Violence" my feelings were mixed because A: I was the victim of domestic violence for about 9 months before I got the courage to call Atherton Police and have him arrested/removed from my home. B: Having experienced being the "Accused of elder abuse/fraud" blaa blaa blaa several years prior and, having to live daily, thru the false accusations until I was proved innocent I totally understood how you felt. Today, after reading your latest, I felt like I was back in high school with all the drama; I am sick of reading about your nasty thoughts, accusations and comments towards the police. Perhaps, you should not have been arrested because you were "innocent" but HOW WAS THE ATHERTON POLICE TO KNOW THAT UNTIL THEY DID THE FULL INVESTIGATION? I can only imagine, what your other half told them but come on...they were just doing their job. (Have you ever even though about that and for only a moment walked in their shoes?) Bottom line is that in the end, YES those allegations against you were false. But not because of Atherton Police THEY WERE JUST DOING THEIR JOB. Let's EXAMINE WHERE ALL OF THIS STARTED; IT STARTED WITH YOUR OTHER HALF MAKING FALSE ACCUSATIONS/ALLEGATIONS AND GOING FULL TILT. (Karma will prevail) Perhaps YOU should be FILING A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOUR OTHER HALF FOR hmmm lets start with Purjury, lying to the police/ false police report, SLANDER/LIBEL etc!!! Especially since your "VICTORY~ your "Declaration of Factual Innocence" from the courts. You should be angry not only with your other half, but with yourself for falling for it; i.e., allowing it to happen! Get over it and get over yourself as far as that incident is concerned. (I have no opinion on your most recent "vocals" regarding Mr. Marsala and frankly does it really even matter?) What I do know is that people around my neighborhood seem to think of the situation has escalated into a bunch of nonsense and that the behaviors are that of a spoiled rotten child who has an ego bigger than life and who manipulates and undermines and plays both sides against the middle to get his way. Again, I do know how you felt, therefore these words are sincere; and again I say GET OVER IT and move on. Our's is a town of wealth, class and good people, rise above it and give your ego a nap. I suggest and urge you to read a book called, "The Four Agreements". It truly changed my whole life and I realized after understanding "The Four Agreements" that "attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference"! Try it, you will be glad you did.

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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm

Ray of Sunshine, thanks for your analysis. To answer you, I hold the Atherton Police responsible because there were accusations made against me that were obviously false at the time, yet they accepted at face value (for example, I accuse you of hitting me over the head with a baseball bat, but have no injuries to my head), but MOST IMPORTANTLY, an Atherton Police Officer testified in court that my police report had been falsified with false charges NOT by the woman who accused me, but by one of his colleagues. I find this utterly unacceptable, and believe there are significant ramifications to the community if it is not dealt with in the most serious way. Because of this, I will continue to speak out even if in so doing you think I am an egomaniac or a spoiled brat. Hope you can understand.

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Posted by Michael Stogner
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Rayo you seemed to have missed the mark on this one.

Atherton Police Officer committing a Felony against Atherton resident Jon Buckheit.

DDA Steve Wagstaffe has known about this crime for over 4 months.

That is the issue.

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Posted by e.grimley
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 27, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Ray of Sunshine....
You beat me to it. Seems whatever the 'post' is, Mr. Buckheit turns it into his cause. I'm not sure when the law changed again (or even if it did), but back in the 80's and 90's, if you could show both parties were combatants, you arrested them both...put both of them in jail for the night! I'm beginning to think that one of the overlooked issues in his case was whoever the supervisor was that night. He/she should have given the order to book 'em both!

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Posted by baffled
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 27, 2010 at 2:37 pm

I've been following Jon Buckheit's case because I find it so bizarre and relevant, not just to him but to anyone who believes those with power over others needs public scrutiny.

What's baffling to me is that Ray and Grimley haven't been able to see a bigger picture here. Do you really want your police department to try to get away with things like altering police reports, and refusing to hand over a police report to a party in the case even though the law requires it? In other words, do you want a lawless police force? And since the questions just keep flowing from my baffled mind, let me add one more: Would you want an officer or two from a lawless police force knocking on YOUR door to answer a call from someone in need of help?

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Posted by spin doctor
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 27, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I sat in the courthouse and listened to the testimony. I was the evidence. There was no "mutual combat". There was a brief struggle over a piece of paper, follwed by Mr. Buckheit being bitten. The bites required treatment.

Mr. Buckheit was the victim, portrayed as the agressor. What happened to him was shocking. He was violated in the worst way. He has every right to speak out on his experience at every opportunity.

E Grimley's post is a devastating indictment of his or her own position. Do you think anybody especially Mr. Buckheit would have called assistance if the old 1980's or 1990's law he speaks of was still on the books?

This is an outrageous comment. The very fear of being further victimized by being portrayed as an abuser, to have the tables turned one one is precisely what prevents people from calling for aid in the first place.

There is a reason people like Ray of Sunshine are reluctant to call the police. They know that ignorance combined with power can be a very dangerous thing.

I can see why Ray of Sunshine would side by the Police. The Police appear to have come to his or her aid. Until we learn more about what is going in Atherton. Until someone shines a bright light on that department, we will never know whether Buckheit's or Ray of Sunshine's experience with the Atherton PD is the exception or the rule.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 27, 2010 at 3:27 pm

Ray of Sunshine: You should fact-check before your make those kind of outrageous accusations. Mr. Buckheit was far kinder in his response to you than I would be.

For me, there are two telling things about Mr. Buckheit's case.

First, a judge listened to the evidence and made a definitive finding of innocence - that's a pretty rare occurence. The arrest records were purged as if it never happened.

The second element is that a police officer of Atherton admitted he falsified a report. That is truly obscene. If this ever happens to you and you don't have a lot of financial resources, you'll very likely find yourself in jail for a while.

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Posted by modus operandi
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 27, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Dear Mr. Johns:
There is NOT a snowball's chance in hell that the D.A.'s office is going to "discover" anything wrong in Atherton--and if they can't AS USUAL, bury it entirely--then it will end up in a "sealed" report that no one is ever allowed to review. Sorry to be so blunt Ivan but...We have all seen this movie before and regularly use the same plot ourselves, to obfuscate Town affairs internally, -- long before they ever make it to the county level.
So--Thanks anyway... but why don't we just skip the re-run and see if the A.G. can perform his own double take on this end run.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 27, 2010 at 4:01 pm


you get the kind of governance and police force you tolerate. It boggles my mind that you would want to live in a town with a corrupt city government and a corrupt police department. As another said, do YOU want that corrupt police department responding to YOUR call for help?

Mr. Johns: I wouldn't expect anything from the San Mateo DA. You are going to have to get the Attorney General involved as having the DA investigate is just the fox guarding the hen house.

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Posted by Longtime resident
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 27, 2010 at 4:46 pm

I know that Mr. Buckheit has a lawsuit against Atherton, but I don't think it's all about money for him. Many of us have witnessed terrible things happening within the Town of Atherton local politics and government, but very few people have really been willing to do something about it. He's one of the very, very few I've ever seen. Some people have called him a hero, others have attacked him. I just have a lot of respect for him because he's made very intelligent comments at the meetings and on Town Square and his concerns are awfully valid. Others above have said it better than I can about how valid they are. Ray of Sunshine, you asked him to put himself in the police's shoes, but have you put yourself in his? If what happened to him happened to you, would you be okay with it? If not, you really have no business attacking him at all.

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Posted by Michael Stogner
a resident of another community
on Apr 27, 2010 at 5:45 pm

John Johns,

I will never forget the day of your civil case when I walked into the courtroom and sat in the back row. I had to pass Ivan Groshauser and APD Chief Bob Brennan sitting next to each other. I asked Ivan if he was there for Official Business or pleasure, he didn't answer.

I know Bob Brennan was stalking you on Atherton's time. He had no reason being there that day...It was personal for him.

Like this comment
Posted by John P. Johns, CPA
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2010 at 12:32 pm

The following is the full text of a letter I received today from the District Attorney today.

This letter begs the question as to:

Why such a low level employee wihtin the DA should have the authority to dismiss such serious allegations?

Why would the allegations be dismissed after having been accompanied by such compelling evidence?

Why would this matter be disposed of without even a telephone call to learn more from the complaining party?

This letter provides a "smoking gun" of the overly intimate relationship between the Atherton Town Government and the District Attorney.

In my view, this letter provides the amunition necessary to go to the California Attorney General.


March 25, 2010
Mr. John P. Johns, CPA
1109 Radcliffe Drive
Davis, CA. 95616
RE: Town of Atherton - Complaint of Criminal Violations
Mr. Johns,
This letter is to formally advise you that the San Mateo County District Attorney's Office has concluded our investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding your allegations into the Town of Atherton.

On two separate occasions in 2009, the District Attorney's Office, received email messages from you alleging a number of criminal violations involving city management personnel in the Town of Atherton.

Inspector Ivan Grosshauser, from the Bureau of Investigation, conducted the investigation into your listed allegations:

• Theft or misuse of public funds by former Chief of Police Glenn Nielsen
• Unauthorized use of city property (telephone) by former Chief of Police Glenn Nielsen
• Fraud by pool contractor & town employee
• Brown Act violations by City Councilmember
• Violation of Court Order by the City Attorney
• Insurance Fraud
• Theft or misuse of public funds (gasoline) via identity theft by unknown city employee
• Falsifying documents in Building Department by City Councilmember
• Unauthorized approval of building documents
• Theft or misuse of public funds by Building Department personnel
• Improper accepting of gifts by Town employee
• Theft or misuse of public funds (attending conference) by former Chief of Police Robert Brennan
• Falsification of police report by Atherton police officer
• Violation ofthe City of Atherton Municipal Code
• Violation of the Brown Act

After a very thorough review of your allegations, and all of the supporting documentation supplied to this office, the results of our investigation lead to the conclusion that there is insufficient evidence to support any criminal charges.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. If you have any further questions please feel free to give me a call to discuss further.

Very Truly Yours,
by Ivan Grosshauser, Inspector

Like this comment
Posted by Michael Stogner
a resident of another community
on Apr 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm

John Johns,

Welcome to San Mateo County

Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Mr Johns:

more proof the Fox is guarding the hen house. You need to go to the A.G.

Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 28, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Mr. Johns -

I think part of the problem - and I've mentioned this to you before to no avail - is that you insist on providing a laundry list of charges. This doesn't serve your purpose, it only makes you look a little nutty (and paranoid).

Remember, I SUPPORT your position, Mr. Johns. The Town of Atherton appears to have serious corruption issues, especially concerning the police actions against Mr. Buckheit and with Council Member Marsala. But you must be selective. Pick the charges that are the most serious and those where the evidence is compelling. I know, you probably think ALL of the evidence is compelling. It probably isn't. Or you can keep doing it your way and getting nowhere.

Again, I believe all of your charges are true and I would like to see them investigated. If you provide the same laundry list to the state AG, you'll get the same response.

And you don't need to repeat how you were treated by the Town of Atherton every time you post. We got it, trust me.

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Posted by Jon Buckheit
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Apr 29, 2010 at 12:38 am

"I believe he will also under investigate for the same reasons."

You know, despite the attacks, my original posting was pretty accurate...

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Posted by sly dog
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 29, 2010 at 8:12 am


I have seen the evidence provided by Mr. Johns. Each and every one of the charges he alleges is factually correct and is supported by overwhelming evidence.

There is a story here. It is about corruption so pervasive in Town that anybody who dares to bring it up risks being persecuted and portrayed as a nut case. It is also about an incestuous relationship between the DA and the Atherto Police Department.

The amazing thing is that the Town of Atherton tried to put Johns in jail with the help of the DA. The DA spent nine months investigating Johns before it declined to prosecute him.

Johns fought back, he submitted more than a dozen public records requests. He brought enough evidence for the DA to swoop in and nail a half dozen appointed and elected officials as well as a couple of kingpins in the building community.

If Mr. Johns is a nutcase it's because he stood up to the powers that be.

If you want to see the evidence set up a gmail account and this sly dog will send it to you.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:39 am

Sly dog -

I didn't say Mr. Johns is a nutcase and I pointed out that I believe all of his allegations are true. Apparently you missed the part when I said "I SUPPORT your position, Mr. Johns."

My point is that when you walk into the DA's office with a long list of charges that include such things as allegations against a pool contractor, you dilute the impact of the more serious charges such as falsifying a police report.

We're all human and we respond accordingly. District attorneys are no different.

Apparently, the DA's office felt the same way. My suggestion is to limit the complaint to the most serious and substantiated charge. Mr. Johns may have more success with that strategy.

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Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Apr 29, 2010 at 6:12 pm

R.GORDON is a registered user.

Welcome to hard times.

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Posted by mixed breed
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 29, 2010 at 9:19 pm

I do not know Pogo but consider Pogo to be a friend and ally.
I disagree with Pogo about the tactic Johns used. Mr Johns is not at fault here. The DA blew him off completely. To suggest the DA would have acted on Johns' criminal complaint if he had presented fewer allegations is wishful thinking.

If Johns is crazy, he is crazy like a fox. Now the DA will have to explain its actions to the Attorney General.

Johns has acquired some influential friends along the way. Wait and see. Those friends are outraged at how he was treated. Heads will roll.

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Posted by pep talk
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 29, 2010 at 10:29 pm

I am a long time supporter of Mr. Johns but have to agree with Pogo's well meant advise on the subject of exhibiting best discretion when ever possible.
Many of us have long been SURE of Mr. Johns innocence but this dose not necessarily mean that opinion might not vary greatly on the exercise of good judgement in every instance.
It has been a horrible ordeal for him to go through and some post traumatic stress should surprise no one. Let us all hope that he is well able to recover his dignity in a manner that restores faith, benefits all and reflects well on him. We all owe him this hope and a helping hand while he finds his vindication. It is certainly deserved, yet must continue to be earned.

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Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 30, 2010 at 10:37 am

POGO is a registered user.

Thanks to pep talk and mixed breed for your comments.

I support Mr. Johns and wish him well. From what I've heard, some of these people might end up jail.

The purpose of my advice was get success for Mr. Johns (ie, action from the DA). When a citizen complains about everything from soup to nuts, the audience tends to discount everything and, in the process, may overlook something legitimate and serious.

However, when a citizen comes to you with a single complaint that a public official acted illegally by soliciting a bribe and here's the probably cause, I would think (and hope) that would have a very different reception.

Then again, perhaps mixed breed is correct and our local DA was going to "blow him off" anyway. We'll never know.

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Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 30, 2010 at 5:38 pm


Mixed breed was right. The DA was going to blow off Mr. Johns anyway. The DA's office is perfectly aware that a police officer testified under oath that a police report he had written had been tampered with. That is a felony. Yet no investigation. Nothing. That is something that should have drawn an IMMEDIATE investigation by the DA's office even WITHOUT any complaint from a citizen. Yet, nothing. One can only conclude from this that the DA has no intention of investigating anything in Atherton. If they won't investigate a felony that they have direct knowledge of, why would they investigate anything else?

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Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 30, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Why don't 100 adult residents of Atherton petition to place the following item on the Town Council's agenda:

Resolution - The Town Council requests that the California State Attorney General investigate the alleged falsification of a police report regarding the arrest of Jon Buckheit.

We have to start somewhere and I suggest that we start with the clearest violation of the law and get the Council to go on record for or against having this investigated by the Attorney General.

Web Link

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Posted by Thankful one
a resident of Atherton: Lloyden Park
on May 1, 2010 at 10:59 pm

I have known Johns for many years.

Pep talk may be well intentioned. However to suggest he suffers from post traumatic stress is nonsense. So is the suggestion that what he is doing is undignified.

We Athertonians are a gentile bunch. This is precisely what is wrong with this town. There is far too much worry about appearances and far too little concern over substance.

Johns has done this town a huge favor, he has acted without concern for what others might think. Instead he acts with conviction.

Peter Carpenter has done the Town an even bigger favor, he has begun to mobilize the troops and marshal the resources necessary to effect real change in this Town.

With men like Peter Carpenter around to see things through, the Johns legacy will be a lasting legacy.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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