Hearst Castle superintendent placed on 30 day leave
February 24, 2014
Following the filling of the 345,000 gallon Neptune pool for Lady Gaga, the state suspended Hearst Castle Superintendent Nick Franco for 30 days, castle sources said.
Less than two weeks earlier, park officials said they were draining the pool, which leaks between 3,000 to 5,000 gallons of water a day. The spring that provides water for the castle and the Hearst Ranch is diminished because of the drought and that there is not enough water to carry the castle through summer, the announcement said.
The draining was heralded by local media and castle officials as a water conservation action.
However, Lady Gaga wanted to have her photo taken in front of the famous pool and offered to pay the cost of replenishing the water. In addition, she contributed more than $275,000 to the Hearst Castle Preservation Foundation.
Nevertheless, State Parks Department officials did not authorize filling of the pool, said Deputy Public Affairs Director Vicky Waters.