Crime

Former Morro Bay planning commissioner charged with embezzlement

John Patrick Fennacy, 50, of Morro Bay was arrested Wednesday, March 4, 2015, on suspicion of grand theft by embezzlement, as well as an enhancement for resulting in a loss of over $65,000. Original story »
John Patrick Fennacy, 50, of Morro Bay was arrested Wednesday, March 4, 2015, on suspicion of grand theft by embezzlement, as well as an enhancement for resulting in a loss of over $65,000. Original story »

Correction: An earlier version of this story contained incorrect information. John Fennacy no longer is a co-owner of Brickhouse BBQ in Morro Bay, after handing over full ownership to his son last year.

A Morro Bay estate attorney and former planning commissioner has been charged with embezzling more than $65,000 from a family trust.

The San Luis Obispo District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday that it filed a felony charge against John Patrick Fennacy, 50, of Morro Bay. According to court records, the charge was filed on Feb.27.

Fennacy served on the city planning commission from January 2012 to May 2014 and was an instrumental voice in an ill-fated recall effort in 2013 against current Mayor Jamie Irons.

Fennacy was a former co-owner of Brickhouse BBQ in Morro Bay, as well as a local estate planner and attorney. He handed over full ownership of the restaurant to his son last year.

Prosecutors filed a charge of grand theft by embezzlement, plus an enhancement for loss exceeding $65,000.

The District Attorney’s Office claimed in a complaint that the crimes occurred between November 2012 and November 2013 and the victim of the theft was a family trust account. No other details of the alleged crime were available Wednesday.

According to a District Attorney’s Office news release, the charge carries a possible maximum sentence of up to three years in County Jail.

Jail records show that Fennacy surrendered to authorities before being booked in the County Jail on Wednesday morning in lieu of $85,000 bail. Jail records show he was no longer in custody as of 2 p.m.

Fennacy resigned from the planning commission last spring and was replaced by Katherine Sorenson, who is serving the remainder of the term that ends January 2016.

He was known as an organizer of the recall effort against Irons, which started in October 2013 but failed over the following three months to collect enough signatures to put the issue on a ballot.

Fennacy also served as a volunteer for the Morro Bay Police Department for about six months before resigning in November 2013, police Cmdr. Bryan Millard said. Fennacy had only begun his training with the department and did not participate in volunteer patrols and was not permitted to carry firearms, Millard said.

Fennacy did not respond to several requests for comment Wednesday.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday morning in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

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