County Counsel to Collins: Shove It.
July 19, 2011
County attorney Charles McKee puts it politely, and buffs it with legalese. But his message to Steve Collins can be translated loosely to, "You're on your own, jerk."
On July 11 Collins' lawyer, Salinas-based criminal defense attorney Michael Lawrence, asked Board of Supervisors Chair Jane Parker to defend and indemnify Collins under the California Government Tort Claims Act. Collins is the former Monterey County Water Resources Agency board member under investigation for conflict of interest in the Regional Water Project.
On behalf of the Water Resources Agency board, McKee rejected Collins' indemnification request on several grounds, including: "the WRA is precluded from defending and indemnifying for fraud or corruption."
The July 15 response closes with a request for Collins to "refrain from contacting WRA elected or appointed officials," instead directing Collins' lawyers to contact only the county's lawyers.
McKee's response can be interpreted as a shove back at Collins after a July 1 report, commissioned by Marina Coast Water District, painted McKee's role in the conflict-of-interest fiasco in an unflattering light.
The report essentially absolves Collins and Marina Coast General Manager Jim Heitzman, and heaps blame on Water Resources Agency General Manager Curtis Weeks, County Supervisors Dave Potter and Lou Calcagno—and county counsel.