Steve Collins Arraignment Continued Until Nov. 30
November 16, 2011
Steve Collins' first court appearance as an alleged white-collar criminal was anticlimactic.
At the request of Collins' defense attorneys, Michael Lawrence and Juliet Peck, the former water board member's arraignment was continued to Nov. 30. He was booked Wednesday morning, but was released of his own recognizance despite a request from the District Attorney's office to hold him on $10,000 bail.
Collins faces 39 criminal charges, including 33 felonies and two conflict-of-interest charges relating to his dual role in the Regional Desalination Project.
He was paid $160,000 by RMC Water and Environment to secure the $28 million desal project management contract for the company while he was serving as a board member with the county Water Resources Agency. His contract with RMC ended Dec. 2, 2010—the same day RMC scored the contract.
Collins, who was greeted warmly by a bailiff as he waited for his case to be heard, stood between his lawyers as they spoke of his lack of prior criminal record and lifelong dedication to his community. He smiled as he left the courtroom with Lawrence.
After the hearing, Peck (pictured below) said she and Collins were surprised and disappointed by the number of felony charges filed against him.
"There's no doubt in our mind that other people should be in his shoes right now," Peck said—including county officials Collins has claimed were in on the RMC deal all along. "He was assured there was no conflict of interest."
The state Fair Political Practices Commission is investigating whether Collins and others violated provisions of the Political Reform Act. Meanwhile, the desal project partners—California American Water, Marina Coast Water District and the county —continue mediation to resolve issues relating to Collins' alleged conflict of interest.
For a complete history of the desal debacle, visit http://www.montereycountyweekly.com/desal/