Lets review those who had a serious role in Monterey County’s Collins Scandal about the Regional Desalination Project.
This does not necessarily mean they are guilty of a crime, but each benefited from and were getting paid as either a government official or a contractor.
1. Steve Collins, Director MCWRA – Billed, and was paid by, a benefiting private company (RMC) for his time acting as government official. This violated California Law: Government Code Sec. 1090. Formed a business entity called “CollinsWeeks Consulting LLC” on January 4, 2010 intending to get a contract to manage the regional desalination project. (Paid some $160,000 so far)
2. Lyndel Melton, RMC, Principal (Consulting) – $28 million dollar financial windfall from and fore-knowledge of Collins’ Violations of Law. Obtained contract to Manage Regional Desalination project. (Billed for ~ half a million dollars, but hasn’t been paid yet.)
3. Robert MacLean, President Cal-Am Water Company – financial benefit of potentially hundreds of millions of dollars from; and knew, or should have known of Collins‘ Violations of Law.
4. Lou Calcagno, County Supervisor – Cited as one of the two “prime movers for bringing Collins into his integral role on the water project.” Calcagno called Collins in early January 2010 to close the Regional Water Project deal.Began meeting with Collins in January 2010. Collins said he took directions from Supervisors Lou Calcagno and Dave Potter and that Calcagno was the “main handler.” Collins claims Calcagno repeatedly assured him that his simultaneous for-profit and government roles on the same subject were legal.
5. Dave Potter, County Supervisor– Began meeting with Collins in February 2010. Cited as one of the two “prime movers for bringing Collins into his integral role on the water project.” Called in January 2010 urging Collins “to work on the water project.”
6. Jim Heitzman, Gen. Mgr MCWD Asked RMC to hire Collins, then paid him regularly from January to August 2010. (after all the contracts were completed?)
7. Curtis Weeks, Gen. Mgr MCWRA – Collins’ Lead Staff person at MCWRA (participated in at least 24 official meetings with Collins), but was incompetent according to Supervisor Lou Calcagno. In Jan 2010 Weeks suggested RMC contract with Collins.
Formed a business entity called “CollinsWeeks Consulting LLC” on January 4, 2010 intending to get a contract to manage the regional desalination project. Weeks invited Heitzman to join the business. (As of September 2011, Weeks is forced to Resign, but gets $90,000 with a promise to never speak about Supervisor Calacagno and Potter’s involvement in this mess.)
8. Irv Grant, Monterey Deputy County Counsel in charge of the Water Resources Agency. Attended 13 meetings with Collins – knew, or should have known, of Collins’ Violations of Law.
It is notable that (at least) 8 other politically influential people were aware of Collins’ repeated illegal acts over the period of a year and kept this secret from the public.
Collusion Secret Because of Financial Benefits:
This has not yet been called a conspiracy. One disparagement of “Conspiracy Theories” is the question “How could so many people be aware of massively corrupt or illegal activities and keep it a secret?” implying that it would be impossible.
This issue shows that a whole raft of prominent people who had a sworn duty to protect the public — you and me, kept a crucial secret quiet because they personally benefited financially – (they get money).
I would not be surprised to find out that Supervisors Lou Calcagno and Dave Potter got Collins involved to try to avoid getting their own hands (too) dirty or their boy Curtis Weeks in trouble. Potter wouldn’t mind getting even with Collins because Collins campaigned against Potter for Supervisor. That helps explain why they kept telling Collins that everything was OK – when it wasn’t.
Remember that Washington DC Rule: Never believe anything until its been officially denied – Well, Calcagno has been loudly (Potter much more quietly) trying to stop this scandal since it first made the news and to limit it ever since: He told one newspaper there’s no need for an investigation.
Calcagno is now doing cartwheels trying to have all investigations stop with Collins and Weeks. The $90,000 payoff settlement to Weeks prevents Weeks from talking publicly about Calcagno’s and Potter’s involvement in this scandal.
My guess is that Calcagno is going to be exposed soon.
I have one more question for Calcagno: Do you get thousands of dollars of free water for your dairy farm every year – and not declare it on your political disclosure forms? That would be free water from a company that you helped get a multi-million dollar permit.
Update July 10, 2011: Supervisor Calcagno is tossing out sand bags trying to keep his personal political hot air balloon from crashing into the ground – Calcagno’s now throwing Curtis Weeks “under the bus” to divert attention from Lou himself. This is not meant to reduce the wrong doing by Weeks, however, a closer look reveals that Supervisor Calcagno knew about Weeks’ improprieties from the beginning – in spite of his carefully worded denials.