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After California wine industry mogul Hugh Reimers illegally destroyed at least 140 acres of forest, meadow and stream in part to make way for new vineyards sometime last winter, according to a report from state investigators, state officials ordered the former executive of Jackson Family Wines to repair and mitigate the damage where possible. Sonoma County officials also suggested a $131,060 fine.
But for environmental activists watching the investigation, fines and restoration attempts aren’t going to cut it; they want Reimers — an experienced captain of industry whom they say knew better — to face a criminal prosecution, which could lead to a jail sentence.
“We want him to be an example of what you can’t do here,” says Anna Ransome, founder of a small organization called Friends of Atascadero…