I lived in Rio Nido during the early January flood of '97 along River Rd. at the main entrance to the Rio Nido canyon homes. I rented the lower studio in a duplex owned by Herbert Harris and his brother,Clare ---also co-owners of Johnson's Beach in Guerneville. I had originally planned to leave the area in September of '96 when Herbert Harris approached me with a rental offer that I couldn't refuse...a quick move-in with no deposit required. Little did I realize that he was setting me up for a FEMA scam that he had devised (more than once over the flood years, I'm sure!) Harris assured me that I would be well out of the flood zone that winter.....Before the first week of January had closed, the river rose to the level of the ceiling in my studio apt. Thereafter, he insisted that I hook-up with the Red Cross and avail myself of their assistance. At first, I resisted. He approached me again and so I went to Gurneville and applied for a clothing allowance to cover damage to some of my clothes that were damaged in the flood. Harris knew all along (unbeknownst to me) that his buddies at the Red Cross would insist that I apply for a one-month rent subsidy check (400 bucks). I had moved to the upper studio since it was vacant at the time (this was pure luck since the previous occupant had just reconciled with his wife and moved out just before the deluvian nightmare. At first I refused to apply for the rent subsidy. Harris insisted again that I do the paper work...knowing full well that I would also get sucked into applying for FEMA assistance as a condition of receiving the RED CROSS assistance. So I ended up with a government "Control Number" and all the crooks in the Russia River area could now access personal information about me (Social Security # etc.) and use the info for future nefarious scams for more government money! I thereafter received a rent check to pay Harris for the whole month of February, '97 and also was visited by a FEMA agent who sized up the damage to the lower studio during the flood...This, of course, meant that Harris would receive some kind of check from FEMA since I had taken the trouble to register with them. Little did I know that I would also qualify for another check from FEMA, myself, for $600. The check, however, was sent to the Harris mailing address and they failed to give it to me, assuming that I didn't know anything about it. However, I received important info from other Rio Nido residents in the area, became suspicious and called FEMA. They informed me that I should have received the check for $600 well before I called them. I then made inquiries around town about anyone that might have attempted to cash a FEMA check made out to yours truly. Apparently, the Harris family caught wind of my inquiries and mailed the check back to FEMA. Herbert Harris always bitched about "welfare people" but sure didn't mind grabbing some government money for himself and set me up in order to do it during the '97 flood. Eventually the FEMA folk re-issued another check to me and sent it to my mailing address this time. Harris' original plan must have been to have me leave the area immediately after the flood so he could launder my FEMA check. I'm not sure what he got out of FEMA that year but I found out that in a previous flood, he received over a $1,000 dollars for flood damage to just one of his properties. He and Clare Harris own the largest chunk of Rio Nido's flood zone properties...GEE, I wonder why?...not to mention they were scamming to buy the commercial bldg across the Road from where I was living at the time! Just who are the biggest Leeches , Herb?? Between Marijuana crop profits and FEMA funding, those Russian River Folk are doing nicely...for a bunch of Baby Boom Era hippies! Herbert Harris has five daughters and they learned the FEMA ropes since the inception the program in 1979. In the future, What Herb and Clare have committed out of greed may not compare to what his progeny may have in mind for future floods!