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Political friends become foes in flap over state grant allocation
Condit, Alvardo-Gil trade barbs
Alvarado and Condit
In July 2023, Stanislaus County Supervisor Channce Condit and state Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil pose for a photo op announcing the awarding of $5 million for south Modesto infrastructure. But now Alvarado-Gil hinted there was wrongdoing in how Condit requested the funds. Condit says it’s Alvarado’s way of getting back at the Condits for an employment complaint filed by Chad Condit, her former chief of staff.

Eleven months ago, State Senator Marie Alvarado-Gil and Stanislaus County Supervisor Channce Condit stood together in a south Modesto neighborhood for a photo-op heralding the awarding of a $5 million state grant to make infrastructure improvements there.

But last week things got ugly between the two Democrats with both lobbing accusations at one another in a befuddling controversy over the grant process itself.

The $5 million, which has already been transferred to the county, joins $16 million in ARPA funds for the installation of curbs, gutters and sidewalks as well as sewers and lighting for blighted areas of south Modesto.

The situation awkwardly pits the two political allies – who had previously worked well together – against one another. Until December, Supervisor Condit’s father Chad had been working as Alvarado-Gil’s chief of staff.

The senator called for California State Attorney General Ron Bonta to investigate whether the money was authorized to be spent by Condit.

“For her to completely renege and almost have amnesia over the fact that she authorized this every step of the way is beyond everybody’s purview,” said Condit.

Alvarado-Gil’s office would not answer questions over the flap, only issuing this statement: “I have been made aware of recent allegations regarding $5 million in state funding in the 2023 budget – money rightfully allocated for sidewalks and infrastructure in South Modesto. Let me be very clear, I have protected these funds and always advocated for them to go to Stanislaus County, never wavering on my support. The only question that remains unanswered is whether or not Mr. Condit followed the legal process in which public dollars may be requested from a government agency and my office. This matter has been referred to the State Attorney General for further investigation.”

Condit wasted no time in alleging that the senator is acting out of revenge because of her falling out with his father, who was fired by the senator in December. Chad Condit has since filed a complaint against the senator.

“This is a complete hatchet job because my father has an HR complaint for wrongful termination against her,” commented Supervisor Condit. “It’s no secret that he has had some severe health issues since last year. He’s had multiple surgeries and his health has been in decline and he hasn’t been well. He was still continuing his work for the senator throughout that time, regardless. It’s blatant retaliation.”

In a long email to the media and others, Condit blasted Alvarado-Gil, saying she was “talking out of both sides of her mouth,” and charged that the Jackson Democrat “can no longer be trusted and has lost all credibility.”

Condit said the senator “has opened a can of worms by beginning an active investigation by claiming that she did not authorize or know that the funding was going towards South Modesto. It is now out of our hands on whether or not the findings of the investigation will result in the loss of funding no matter what lip service the senator now claims to be true.“

Condit said the county already received the $5 million and is ready to go out to bid on the infrastructure work. But he charged the senator’s actions place a “dark cloud” over it – and that her call for an investigation jeopardizes those funds.

Condit explained that he emailed state and federal officials to request matching state funds for the south Modesto infrastructure project in his District 5 and that funding requests of this nature are “quite the common practice.”

“We always worked lockstep on this issue,” said Condit. “She was actually very pleasant and easy to work with. She seemed on board from the very beginning and I submitted my request … and she informed me that she would be submitting a budget amendment request to the state budget.”

The supervisor also said that Alvarado-Gil instructed him to collect community support in the form of signatures on a petition to increase the likelihood for the awarding of the grant.

Condit says he is confused as to Alvarado-Gil’s “bizarre falsehoods” and said her refusal to return his calls or emails since Feb. 20 “seems very suspicious and concerning.”

According to Condit, the senator verbally told Board Chairman Mani Grewal, county CEO Jody Hayes, and Assemblyman Juan Alanis that she had intentions to either have the $5 million returned or for Stanislaus County to face penalties for future state funding if the money is not returned.

“I never imagined that even after our county secured the funding from the state that I would have to be trying to stop the very senator, who got us the funding, from taking it back. How do you explain not knowing or not authorizing the funding in the state budget?”