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Desert Manna CEO says he's victim of ‘smear campaign'


Desert Manna’s President and CEO Darrin Fikstad is scheduled to appear in court twice this month, on Wednesday and Jan. 14.

Fikstad’s first court date is a related to a former employee’s attempt to get a restraining order against him, as previously reported by the Desert Dispatch.

Court records show Fikstad is due in court again Jan. 14 for charges of driving-under-the-influence with a blood-alcohol level exceeding the legal limit and driving on a license that had been suspended for DUI.

“I have an attorney handling this and we feel confident that it will all be dismissed,” Fikstad said. “We all have personal lives and mistakes happen in life, and all you can do is move forward and learn from these mistakes.”

A person who asked to be anonymous tipped off the Desert Dispatch regarding Fikstad’s legal troubles. Although he confirmed he is due to appear in court, Fikstad said he is shocked that someone is going this far to “smear his name.”

Court records show past DUI charges against Fikstad, including a conviction in 2005 for which he was sentenced to a year and four months in prison. On Friday, Fikstad said he never served that amount of time. 

“Those were all combined charges and that was about 10 years ago and I have been very good over the past 10 years,” Fikstad said, despite the DUI charge stemming from an alleged incident on Aug. 24. “I’m not an important figure here in town. I’m not a politician, I’m just a humble and hard-working businessman that works to do wonderful things for Desert Manna and the community along with other charities.”

Fikstad said his recent charge didn’t affect his performance or the things he has done for Desert Manna, a local nonprofit that strives to “eradicate hunger in the Barstow area,” according to its website.

According to a request for a restraining order filed Dec. 12, former Desert Manna employee Alida Burhan claimed Fikstad threatened her several times. Fikstad said Burhan was simply a disgruntled employee.

The request for a restraining order was denied Dec. 17 and there is an order to show cause hearing set for Wednesday, according to previous reports.

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