Liar: Documents show ALRB’s Isadore Hall knew about Gerawan case before he denied it
Documents show that ALRB member Isadore Hall knew about the Gerawan farm and farmworker controversy well before the eve of his March 1 confirmation, when he claimed to know nothing about the company.
The discrepancy, discovered by GV Wire, raises further questions about Hall’s truthfulness and his legal mandate to remain impartial in farmworker labor disputes.
In a February 28 altercation with farm executives the night before his confirmation hearing, Hall insulted and threatened to use ALRB power to “get” his critics. Witnesses said Hall asked, “Who was Gerawan?”
Yet in a June ALRB administrative order, Hall said he knew all about Gerawan beforehand, as early as January and early February.
Hall was very specific: “while the declarant [Gerawan] here alleges I inquired of him ‘who was Gerawan’ on the eve of my confirmation hearing before the Senate Rules Committee on March 1, 2017, I was familiar with Gerawan Farming at that time. I was appointed to the Board on January 13, 2017. On January 27, I received a letter from Senate President Pro Tempore, Kevin de León, concerning my confirmation process and requesting responses to various questions, including several pertaining specifically to Gerawan Farming. I responded to those questions by letter dated February 10, 2017.”
“Through a Public Records Act request, GV Wire received documents showing communications with state Senate President Kevin de Léon (D-Los Angeles) and Hall prior to his confirmation hearings in March,” GV Wire reported. “These were the letters referenced in Hall’s June decision not to recuse himself from the Gerawan cases.”
Gerawan Farming, a huge employer in the Central Valley that has been battling ALRB, went to court to show that Hall, as a pro-UFW activist, was too biased against the company to be an impartial ALRB member.
A timeline shows that Hall knew all about the Gerawan case before witnesses said he knew nothing.
- January 13, 2017: Governor Jerry Brown appoints Hall to ALRB.
- January 27, 2017: Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de Leon writes Hall “specifically” about Gerawan Farming.
- February 10, 2017: Hall responds to de Leon’s questions about Gerawan.
- February 28, 2017: Hall threatens witnesses preparing to testify against him at his March 1 Senate confirmation hearing, and says he knows nothing about Gerawan. Hall calls Pick Justice workers a bunch of “motherf—ers,” and says he would “get their ass” because of Pick Justice’s videos against him.
- March 1, 2017: Hall testifies before state Senate in his confirmation hearing. Gerawan workers, under the auspices of Pick Justice, speak out against him.
- June, 2017: Hall admits he knew about Gerawan all along.
Hall: ‘I harbor no bias or hostility toward Gerawan Farming.’ But what about hostility toward Gerawan’s workers?
As part of its efforts against the farm and its workers, ALRB responded with an administrative order to protect the controversial Hall from allegations of bias. He claimed no bias against Gerawan Farming, but did not claim absence of bias against Gerawan farmworkers who have been resisting the ALRB’s attempts to force a UFW contract on them. Gerawan farmworkers associated with Pick Justice say they fear Hall for his threats to “get them.” They recently visited lawmakers in Sacramento to voice their fears.
The Los Angeles Times reported in March that Hall did not deny threatening his critics. Later, Hall evaded questions and hid behind an ALRB lawyer.
“In that Administrative Order denying Gerawan’s attempt to block Hall from deciding cases involving the grower,” according to GV Wire, “Hall wrote:
“After being appointed to the Board, I became aware that there were unwarranted attacks, including videos, being made against me on social media, but I did not — and do not — attribute any of these videos to Gerawan Farming, and to my knowledge Gerawan Farming is not responsible for those videos. Also, while the declarant here alleges I inquired of him ‘who was Gerawan’ on the eve of my confirmation hearing before the Senate Rules Committee on March 1, 2017, I was familiar with Gerawan Farming at that time. I was appointed to the Board on January 13, 2017. On January 27, I received a letter from Senate President Pro Tempore, Kevin de León, concerning my confirmation process and requesting responses to various questions, including several pertaining specifically to Gerawan Farming. I responded to those questions by letter dated February 10, 2017.
“As a large agricultural producer, I understand Gerawan Farming has contributed greatly to the economic fabric of the State of California. To be clear, I harbor no bias or hostility toward Gerawan Farming. In my deliberations on case nos. 2012-CE-041-VIS, et al., and in all other cases that come before this Board, I will consider only the record before the Board and applicable legal precedent.”
De Leon’s clumsy defense of Hall
Senator de Leon would not allow the threatened farmworkers to address Hall’s confirmation hearing through interpreters. He blocked any investigation of eyewitness reports that Hall had threatened witnesses before his Senate confirmation hearing, which de Leon chaired. “It’s not our practice to review or investigate bar room conversations,” de Leon said in the Los Angeles Times.
De Leon made a clumsy defense of Hall, a former state senator, insisting that “nothing unseemly” was going on.
“The word cronyism is highly misplaced at this moment,” de Leon said in an April 20 floor speech defending Hall.