Steve Collins portrays himself as victim of county scheme; county might sue him back.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
The abandoned Regional Water Project still isn’t water under the bridge.
For the first time since the project agreements started unraveling, former Monterey County Water Resources Agency board chair Steve Collins is speaking up to tell his version of events. “I never thought, and to this day still don’t think, that I did anything wrong,” Collins says.
He faces 42 criminal charges, including two conflict-of-interest felonies for private consulting work he did while serving on the board.
Collins sued the county for $25 million in May, and says he looks forward to his day in court – either civil or criminal – to expose a paper trail he believes will prove county attorneys and supervisors Lou Calcagno and Dave Potter were in on his double-dipping deal.
Now the county is fighting back. In court documents filed July 18, County Counsel Charles McKee contends Collins is sabotaging the public process and requests the case be thrown out.
Collins views the county’s motion as a David-and-Goliath effort to silence him.
“He’s suing us, and we’re not suing him,” McKee responds. “Although we might.” County counsel is researching potential legal actions against Collins.
“Bring it,” Collins fires back. “The county has unlimited resources and will confront me with every legal maneuver they can muster.”
The county’s also trying to keep information out of the criminal proceedings, invoking attorney-client privilege after Collins’ defense attorney, Michael Lawrence of Lawrence & Peck, subpoenaed a dozen county staffers in April. At a hearing scheduled for Aug. 31, Monterey County Superior Court Judge Pamela Butler will decide whether the county has to disclose the documents.