Collins Faces New Felony Charges; Prosecutors Allege Witness Interference
December 21, 2011
The hits just keep on coming in the Steve Collins conflict-of-interest clusterf*ck.
The former Monterey County Water Resources Agency board member was charged with two additional felonies and a misdemeanor Dec. 16, according to the county District Attorney's office. The charges stem from allegations that Collins tried to persuade a witness not to cooperate with the case against him involving his multi-year billing of Castroville artichoke grower Ocean Mist Farms for work he never did.
The latest charges bring Collins' grand total to 42, with 35 felonies and seven misdemeanors. Two of the original felony counts relate to his alleged conflict of interest in the Regional Desalination Project. He's next scheduled in court Jan. 18 for a preliminary hearing setting.
County District Attorney Dean Flippo says both felony counts stem from Collins' alleged attempts from Nov. 13-23 to dissuade Ocean Mist executives Dale Huss and Ed Boutonnet from testifying at his trial, and his demand for a signed company statement saying Ocean Mist was satisfied with his work and didn't want to press charges against him.
The misdemeanor charge targets Collins' attempted inducement of false testimony from Huss and Boutonnet, presumably so they could vouch for his innocence and good standing with Ocean Mist.
Flippo says his team found no evidence Collins' lawyers, Michael Lawrence and Juliet Peck, knew of their client's actions. Calls to Lawrence and Peck were not immediately returned.