Steve Collins Pleads Not Guilty
January 11, 2013
Days after California American Water's new water supply proposal sparked fury at a public hearing, the former Monterey County Water Resources Agency board member quietly announced the sinking of the former project—and his reputation with it—has ruined him.
Steve Collins, who's facing felony charges that he violated conflict of interest laws, entered a plea of not guilty Friday. After reviewing Collins' financial statements, the court also appointed a public defender to represent Collins. Michael Lawrence of Lawrence & Peck had represented him up until now.
Collins is also charged with grand theft, facing allegations that he filed fraudulent invoices for accounting work he did for his former employer, Ocean Mist Farms, and billed for meetings he never attendedor didn't exist.
Collins has maintained he simply followed instructions and used a stock invoice every month, and it was never intended to reflect real time spent.
Collins continues to support the old desalination proposal that got him into trouble in the first place. "The current Cal Am proposal is fraught with peril, and has little chance of success," he wrote in a recent email to supporters.
"I do not receive water from Peninsula sources and personally have no dog in this fight; never have. In hindsight, when the Board of Supervisors asked me to get involved and take a leadership role in the Regional Project I should have told them to pound sand, but my family has always had a level of civic involvement and felt I could make a difference."