The Riverside County District Attorney’s office has dismissed all charges against Ontario-based Neff Construction CEO Edward Mierau after an almost four-year investigation.
The contractor issued a statement on July 30 asserting that prosecuters from the Public Integrity Unit had filed close to 30 felony counts against Mierau.
“It took Mierau years to clear his name,” the news release says. “Mierau has never been in trouble before and had enjoyed a sterling statewide reputation for school construction that was nearly ruined by the false charges.”
A court document called the “supplemental factual basis,” signed by the guilty party, admits, “At no time did I ever conspire with, discuss, outline or insinuate any details of my fraud with Ed Mierau. At no time have I ever implicated or suggested any involvement by Ed Mierau, I accept full responsibility for the fraud outlined above, and specifically exonerate Ed Mireau.”
Neff Construction and Mierau say they have fully cooperated with law enforcement’s investigation “and continuously reiterated that Mierau was an unknowing innocent bystander in the schemes of a school administrator who acted alone to embezzle money from the Corona Norco Unified School District.”
“Despite the investigation revealing no evidence to prove Mierau was even aware of the fraud, until it was uncovered, prosecutors filed charges anyway expecting that the number and weight of the charges would convince him to plead guilty to lesser charges. Mierau, and his lawyer, former District Attorney Rod Pacheco, not only refused any plea bargain but demanded that the charges be dismissed,” the statement says.
“My innocence and that of our company, Neff Construction, have been vindicated,” said Mierau. “It was devastating to be charged with crimes that I did not commit and for our company to be under suspicion when another individual was solely responsible for the embezzlement. We now have to work on restoring our almost ruined reputation.”
“The DA’s office pursuit involved a number of egregious errors and what appeared to be outright deceptions in court documents and statements made in court,” said Pacheco, which failed to convince a local judge recently when she denied prosecutors a simple preliminary injunction that are routine for prosecutors to secure.
“The judge found insufficient evidence to grant prosecutors’ request. Prosecutors are also under fire for violating Mierau’s civil rights in collaboration with officials, Michael Fine and Michael Ammermon, from a school audit agency known as FCMAT,” the statement says.
“The integrity of our legal system demands accountability from all parties involved,” said Pacheco. “This investigation was riddled with errors and misrepresentations that led to wrongful accusations against an innocent man and company with stellar, untarnished reputations.”
“Neff Construction has earned a strong reputation for successfully completing hundreds of projects for school districts by adhering to the highest professional and ethical standards.”
“Mierau is an integral part of our company,” said Ron Kuehl, Neff Construction’s vice-president. “His career of over 30 years proved time and time again that he is a man of integrity and committed to providing the best services and products for our customers. His life has been dedicated to building the infrastructure to house our next generation.”
“The district attorney’s office secretly used auditors and investigators from FCMAT that manipulated this frivolous process to create a false narrative of Mierau’s guilt. These deceitful tactics publicly damaged the reputation of both Mierau and Neff Construction which will continue to have extreme impacts on their ability to conduct business,’’ said Pacheco. “The Public Integrity Unit of the DA’s office ought to have integrity. In Mierau’s case they had none.”
“I accomplished this appropriation and embezzlement by abusing the trust of CNUSD, Neff Construction, and Neff Construction CEO Ed Mierau,” Rozzi wrote. “I abused that trust for my own personal benefit. I used my knowledge, expertise and relationships to construct a scheme by which I could funnel public monies paid to Neff Construction to pay my own personal expenses.
“At no time did I ever conspire with … Ed Mierau. I accept full responsibility for the fraud outlined above, and specifically exonerate Ed Mierau,” Rozzi wrote.