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Our picks for the sometimes less obvious winners.
Best Scandal of 2011 (2012)
Steve Collins and the Regional Desalination Plant
He had everything. Status, a fabulous house in the hills, a few decades of experience as a CPA and a prominent position as a Monterey County Water Resources Agency board member. Now there’s the tanking of the Regional Desalination Project in a conflict-of-interest scandal and a state Fair Political Practices Commission investigation into county Supervisors Lou Calcagno and Dave Potter. And, oh, Collins now faces 42 criminal charges, including six misdemeanor counts of receiving payments for acts he performed while also operating as a water agency board member and two felonies for receiving consulting fees from the winner of the $28 million desal project management contract (work done while also serving on the water board). Collins has portrayed himself as a fall guy in this watery drama.While a fall guy he might be, his preliminary hearing on all those counts is due to happen in April, and it will be fascinating to see if he falls alone.