Steve Collins tells his version of the desal story – in a claim against the county.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Enough of the accusations and reports that point fingers at agencies and officials for the alleged conflict of interest ordeal that imperils the Regional Water Project. On to the legal complaints.
Stephen Collins, the former Monterey County Water Resources Agency board member who resigned in April amidst revelations that he’d been a paid consultant to an engineering firm later hired to manage the $400 million project, filed a claim Sept. 19 against Monterey County, alleging county officials defamed and humiliated him, and crippled his earning potential.
The complaint details Collins’ version of the events that led to his double dipping, and shows a strained relationship between himself and Curtis Weeks. Weeks, the general manager of the water resources agency, and the county agreed on Sept. 20 to amend his contract; his last day will be Oct. 7. Weeks also is Collins’ partner in a private consulting firm.
According to the complaint, County Supervisor Lou Calcagno urged Collins to lead the way: “[Calcagno] expressed his opinion that General Manager Weeks was incapable of guiding the Regional Project… Calcagno told me I would have to assume responsibility for ‘closing the deal’ on the Regional Project.
“The idea of hiring me as a paid consultant did not originate with Weeks. It originated with… Calcagno.”
Collins also names Supervisor Dave Potter, along with County Counsel Charles McKee and Deputy Counsel Irv Grant, for being in on the RMC deal all along, a claim they have publicly denied. Collins says he offered to resign from the board before he became a consultant, and that the results of a two-day polygraph test back his claims.
Collins also details media coverage, quoting this newspaper, among others, as evidence that Potter’s comments “would expose me to further hatred, contempt, ridicule… and loss of earning ability.”
He’s calculated lost earnings to date at more than $86,000, plus legal fees for his attorneys, Juliet Peck and Michael Lawrence, at $50,000 and counting.
The state Fair Political Practices Commission and the county District Attorney are investigating Collins’ alleged conflict of interest.
Potter, Collins, McKee and Peck couldnt’t be reached for comment by the Weekly’s deadline. Calcagno calls it “the greatest piece of fiction I’ve ever seen.”