The former Cal State Bakersfield College Republican leader arrested Monday for embezzling a reported $60,000 from Lengthwise Brewing in Bakersfield was involved in an internal battle between California College Republican factions this year.
And that battle sheds some light on why the CSUB College Republicans might have invited conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos to Bakersfield for a failed October speaking engagement.
Bakersfield Police Department spokesman Sgt. Ryan Kroeker said police were called out to Lengthwise Brewing Company’s main brewery on District Boulevard Monday afternoon.
One of the owners, Kroeker said, told police he believed that one of his employees had been stealing from him over the past several months.
Officers arrived at the brewery at 3 p.m. and started an investigation.
At around 5 p.m. they drove to the Lengthwise Pub on Calloway Drive, one of the brewery’s two other locations, and arrested bartender Jake Thomasy.
A detective from the Bakersfield Police Department’s financial crimes unit is continuing the investigation Kroeker said.
Thomasy, who is the nephew of former Bakersfield City Councilman Terry Maxwell, will be arraigned on Oct. 30, Kroeker said.
The exact amount of the loss to Lengthwise has not been determined, he said, but the owner has estimated the amount at $60,000.
A spokesman for Lengthwise declined to talk about details of the arrest.
"This is the first time I personally, or Lengthwise as a business, has had to deal with a situation like this. Unfortunately, I can’t discuss any facts at this time," wrote Lengthwise co-owner Jeff Williams in an e-mail.
Almost immediately after Thomasy’s arrest hit the news Wednesday night the Kern County Young Republicans group reached out to The Californian to make sure he wasn’t connected to their organization.
“He’s not affiliated with the Kern County Young Republicans,” Matthew Martin said.
A series of photos on the KCYR group’s Facebook page shows Thomasy arm-in-arm with Martin, Kevin Reed and other leaders of the Kern County Young Republicans at fundraisers for House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and campaign events for California Senate Candidate Shannon Grove.
But it appears that friendship was severed by a contentious battle for control of the California College Republicans group.
Martin said Thomasy came to a couple of meetings and showed up for photo ops.
But, he said, “he was kind of doing his thing with the College Republicans. He did not engage with the Young Republicans at all.”
Thomasy, 25, told The Californian in September that someone had suggested he try to bring conservative firebrand Milo Yiannopoulos to CSUB for a speaking engagement.
"As the past president, I took it to the group and it's been a group effort from there," Thomasy said.
Ultimately the effort ended in failure.
The CSUB Young Republicans couldn’t afford Yiannopoulos’s $20,000 speaking fee and event rules at the university prevented the group from selling tickets to the general public.
But why did Thomasy try to bring the speaker to Bakersfield?
The Yiannopoulos connection may have come from Thomasy’s involvement with a slate of candidates running for the leadership of the California College Republicans group on an anti-establishment platform earlier this year.
According to a story written on the Medium website by former University of California Santa Barbara College Republican Eric Lendrum, Thomasy was part of the “RebuildCCR” slate led by Ariana Rowlands of University of California Irvine.
Rowlands was a writer for Brietbart where Yiannopoulos was an editor and was, according to reports, instrumental in bringing the controversial speaker to that university for events.
Thomasy’s Facebook account displays the RebuildCCR logo of Rowland’s slate of California College Republicans.
Kern County Young Republican leader Kevin Reed was a member of the opposing ThriveCCR faction.
Martin acknowledged that Thomasy's affiliation with that group was what caused a rift between Thomasy and members of the Kern County Young Republicans.