Subpoenas show feds probing controversial Napa County land deal, airport redevelopment

Investigators are seeking documents in connection with a land deal among other things.|

Read more stories about the federal investigation at

Federal subpoenas obtained by The Press Democrat on Friday show investigators are seeking information and documents in connection with a controversial Napa County land deal, the airport’s redevelopment and 40 other individuals and companies.

According to three subpoenas, investigators with the FBI and U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division are seeking material related to the Upper Valley Waste Management Agency, the Napa County Airport redevelopment and documents entangled in a contentious land deal involving the family of Napa County Supervisor Alfredo Pedroza.

READ the subpoenas here

The county acknowledged in early January that federal investigators had contacted the county in order to gather information connected to the waste management agency, but officials said they were told by the DOJ not to share additional details at the time.

A joint-powers authority composed of Napa County, St. Helena, Yountville and Calistoga is responsible for overseeing Upvalley waste management services, which includes the Clover Flat landfill. The landfill has been the source of a number of recent environmental and worker complaints.

Each subpoena commands county officials to testify before a grand jury at various dates in January and this month, the next of which is slated for Feb. 14 in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, and to submit specific documents to investigators.

One subpoena, addressed to Napa County Public Works Director Steven Lederer, asks the county for documents dating back to Jan. 1, 2019, related to proposals, quotes or bids that the agency solicited.

It also requests communications that public works officials had with elected officials affiliated with the agency or related cities regarding waste management services.

The subpoena also ordered any documents be submitted that discuss competition among waste management in Marin, Sonoma, Napa, Yolo and Solano counties.

Another subpoena requested information regarding Vinedos Ap LLC — along with 39 others named — which Pedroza had been a member of in 2021. The entity was responsible for completing an Atlas Peak land deal next to Walt Ranch. Pedroza himself is not listed.

Walt Ranch was a controversial vineyard project that county officials had considered for years. The Land Trust of Napa County ultimately acquired the land.

The subpoena asks for documents from those 40 people and entities dating back to Jan. 1, 2016, though it doesn’t identify what investigators are looking for.

Craig and Kathryn Hall, who owned Walt Ranch prior to selling to the Land Trust, are included on the list. So is Esteban Llamas, Pedroza’s father-in-law, and Circle R Ranch, the entity that sold the land adjacent to Walt Ranch to the Vinedos LLC in 2021.

Napa residents filed a complaint in 2022 with the California Fair Political Practices Commission alleging Pedroza had a conflict of interest when he cast a vote in December 2021 — Pedroza wasn’t a member of Vinedos by Nov. 1 that year — on an issue involving Walt Ranch.

Pedroza has previously denied a conflict of interest and the commission’s investigation is still pending.

Another subpoena asked for information related to a 2022 Napa County Grand Jury report connected to the county airport’s redevelopment effort. The report in question included criticism of how the county approached the redevelopment, specifically how the county used closed session meetings.

The Napa County Board of Supervisors responded in August 2022 that it had not misused such meetings.

Though, the vote to approve the board’s response to the finding was 3-2, with Supervisor Belia Ramos and then-Supervisor Brad Wagenknect voting against.

Ramos said during the meeting she agreed with the grand jury’s finding.

The Napa Valley Register first reported on details of the subpoenas Thursday evening.

You can reach Staff Writer Edward Booth at 707-521-5281 or

Read more stories about the federal investigation at

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