Kevin Fitzgerald, former general manager of the Roddy Ranch Golf Club and a man once close to the Roddy family, recently pleaded guilty to charges of fraud and theft after stealing over $300,000 from owner Jack Roddy over the course of two years.
Roddy said little about the case – only that he was satisfied the law handled it appropriately.
“I just feel that what this man did hurt many, many people and what he did was wrong,” said Roddy.
Deputy District Attorney Dodie Katague said Fitzgerald will now serve a sentence of six years, while his co-conspirator in the criminal activity, Mark Mattson, has an arraignment date of Dec. 20.
“(Fitzgerald) was lying the whole time, telling Jack that the business was doing well when it wasn’t, which has hurt Jack and lost him a lot of money,” Katague said. “Jack treated him like a son and was going to give him everything when he died.”
Though the sting of betrayal is still fresh, Roddy is taking the time to focus on cattle ranching.
“This has always been a cattle ranch. The golf course was once successful, but things happened up there that never should have happened, and Roddy Ranch is still a cattle ranch,” said Roddy, whose home is nestled in prime country off Deer Valley Road.
In addition, Roddy has taken steps to help preserve this part of the dwindling Wild West for future generations by selling his land to the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD). The most recent deals made this fall were the sale of the 230-acre golf course and his 40-acre home, which he leases back to continue pasturing cattle. All of the acreage will be preserved forever and used by the community.
“I’ve been criticized by developers in the past, but I’m a rancher, not a developer,” said Roddy. “I like the idea of this land being preserved forever. There need to be areas where people can get out and enjoy open space, so I felt like preserving it was the right thing to do.”
At 80, Roddy joked he doesn’t even buy green bananas anymore, but one plan he made for the future involved turning the homestead into a public museum dedicated to his rodeo history once he and his wife pass – as per the sale agreement made with the EBRPD. Trophies and memorabilia, including everything from numerous buckles to photographs of Roddy with former President Reagan and celebrities, will remain for future generations to observe when they visit.
“Kids will be able to come and see the real west out here,” Roddy said.