Assistant Fire Chief Ordered On-Duty Firefighters to Build Elaborate Tiki Bar in His Yard
Apparently, the state auditor does NOT like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, because the chief is now suspended.
Photo via Flickr user sushiesque
Ray Wyland has undoubtedly encountered more faux-bamboo room dividers, blue Curaçao cocktails and drinkware shaped like Polynesian idols than any person deserves. On his website, Tiki With Ray, he has detailed dozens of visits to Tiki bars across the United States and Canada, photographing them and writing about the overall experience. “A good Tiki bar should create a relaxing mood,” he writes. “When you step into a Tiki bar, the outside world doesn’t exist anymore.” That’s probably true—at least until the state auditor’s office starts investigating your by-all-accounts unauthorized Tiki bar.
Some of Wyland’s photographs were featured in a jaw-dropping report from the California State Auditor’s Office, which detailed how an assistant chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) used on-the-clock state employees to build a Tiki bar in the backyard of a home that he was renting from—you guessed it—the California state government.
State auditor Elaine Howle detailed the bar’s construction in a lengthy report detailing how a number of state employees have wasted the state’s time, property, and money. She explained that although the unidentified assistant chief used “personal funds” for the building materials and rented his own construction equipment, he also “exercised poor judgment” and “caused discredit to the State” by instructing on-duty firefighters to help him work on it.
“[One] employee reported that he helped the assistant chief because he was new to state employment and did not know it was wrong. He interpreted the assistant chief's request as ‘giving me an order to come help him.’” Howle and her team wrote. “In addition, the assistant chief used a subordinate battalion chief to help him put sheeting on the roof of the structure. The battalion chief stated that he viewed the work as a request from his boss rather than as a request from a friend.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, the firefighter spent six months constructing the 16-foot by 20-foot bar and, upon its completion, it was fully furnished and decorated, with electricity, plumbing and sewer connections. (Thanks to Wyland’s photographs, we know that dude was really into rattan.) And because you don’t build a Tiki bar with its own toilet so you can say “ALOHA” to an empty room, he also hosted some sweet-ass parties.
“[O]n certain dates in October 2016 and November 2017, the assistant chief invited numerous guests to travel to the residence to experience the décor and to consume alcoholic beverages,” the auditor wrote. “The guests then drove off the Cal Fire compound either in their own vehicles or in a limo bus that their driver parked in front of the residence.”
Last November, Cal Fire’s assistant chief ordered that the man had to either tear the bar down or face eviction from the property. (He chose option one). In addition, he was suspended for 30 days without pay, and received a strongly worded warning letter. Cal Fire also changed its rental agreement to point out that tenants are not allowed to modify the property or, like, construct unlicensed and uninspected bars in their backyards.
“It is a disappointment to the department. Cal Fire has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” Mike Mohler, the deputy director of Cal Fire, told KTXL. “The department has taken action. The investigation is closed, and we are moving forward.”
Yeesh, it sounds like you could really use a drink. Maybe something blue, maybe with an umbrella in it?
This article originally appeared on Munchies US.