County Officials Try to Duck Testifying in Collins Case
October 11, 2012
In a preliminary hearing already two days in and a long list of witnesses still to be called to the stand, the criminal case against former Monterey County Water Resources Agency director Steve Collins is shaping up slowly, one invoice at a time.
And the defense hasn't even started.
Once prosecutors finish laying out their case and Collins' defense attorney Michael Lawrence (pictured above), brings witnesses to the stand, it will likely still be a trying and tedious process in simply determining who will testify.
Of 10 witnesses Lawrence has subpoenaed, he says the four county officials—County Counsel Charles McKee, Deputy County Counsel Irv Grant, County Supervisor Lou Calcagno and Calcagno's chief of staff Henry Gowin—will be trying to avoid the stand. They've filed motions arguing they were improperly subpoenaed, according to Lawrence.
Other witnesses, who Lawrence expects to appear without debate, include Marina Coast Water District General Manager Jim Heitzman, RMC Principal Lyndel Melton, former MCWRA GM Curtis Weeks, and three representatives of Ocean Mist Farms, attorney Jim Schwefel, President and CEO Ed Boutonnet and VP Dale Huss.
Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hulsey barely scratched the surface regarding 31 grand theft charges related to billing his former employer, Castroville-based artichoke giant Ocean Mist Farms. In court Thursday, she showed his final invoice for $8,820.14 in May, 2011.
According to Hulsey, $6,334 was for hours never worked, based on line items, such as closed session Board of Supervisors meetings, that either never occurred or that Collins did not attend.