Groups ask DA Ravich to prosecute Reimers for environmental destruction connected to vineyard.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 15, 2019
For more information, contact:
Anna Ransome, Friends of Atascadero Wetlands
Phone: 707-829-2781; Email: email@example.com
Environmental Groups Call on District Attorney to Prosecute Vineyard Developer
Graton, CA—Ten national, state and local environmental organizations, including the
Center for Biological Diversity and Madrone Audubon Society, have written letters to
Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravich urging her to pursue criminal charges
against wine company executive Hugh Reimers and his company, Krasilsa Pacific
Reimers, a long-time wine developer, knowingly, and without seeking the required
permits, bulldozed 50 acres of oak woodlands, deep-ripped about 200 acres of meadow,
dredged and filled 10,000 square feet of wetlands, and dumped tree limbs and soil
debris into 2,450 feet of natural creeks on property he purchased in 2017 just east of
The wanton destruction by Reimers, former CEO of Jackson Family Wines and ex-
president of Foley Family Wines, destroyed protected wetlands, obliterated wildlife
habitat, imperiled aquatic species and polluted three tributaries of the Russian River:
Little Sulphur Creek, Big Sulphur Creek and Crocker Creek.
Reimers’ background, which includes vineyard development and familiarity with the
Sonoma County Sediment Control Ordinance (VESCO), means he cannot plead
ignorance of permitting requirements and application procedures.
The North Coast Regional Water Board on August 29 issued a Cleanup and Abatement
Order, mandating restoration, with penalties if the land is not restored on schedule.
“In similar instances, the vineyard developer has argued that the destruction they
caused is so great that restoration is impossible, and regulators have imposed fines and
allowed the vineyard to proceed,” said Friends of Atascadero Wetlands founder Anna
“This cannot happen again — rewarding the violator with a retroactive permit. That is is
why we and nine other organizations are asking the District Attorney to bring criminal
charges against Reimers . Vintners must understand that they cannot violate
environmental laws with impunity. The natural resource deserves justice,” Ransome
In an October 9 letter to District Attorney Ravitch, attorneys for the Center for Biological
Diversity said that “. . . it is critical that the County take this opportunity to put industry
participants on notice and send a clear message; that those who knowingly skirt
environmental laws and inflict harm on the County’s natural resources will be
prosecuted to the full extent allowed under the law,” attorneys Ross Middlemiss and
Aruna Prabhala wrote.
The letters from the Center for Biological Diversity and Madrone Audubon Society are
attached. Agency reports are available on request.