Parkinson: We didn’t conceal it from them
October 20, 2010
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s candidate Ian Parkinson says in a published interview that he stopped his private work as a traffic accident reconstructionist around six years ago. [Tribune]
Parkinson, who continues to defend his actions in a 2000 Monterey County civil trial, also indicated that he had to receive annual approval from San Luis Obispo city officials to continue his off-duty consulting work.
Parkinson testified in 2000 that he had investigated about 3,000 to 4,000 traffic accidents during the nearly 17 years he’d worked as a police officer, and made several hundred reconstructions of accidents since 1990.
The controversy stems from a CalCoastNews article about Parkinson testifying as an expert witness for the plaintiff back in 2000 who turned out to be his sister-in-law Rita Tavernetti. A review of the transcript by both CalCoastNews and the Tribune shows that Parkinson failed to disclose his family relationship to the court, which eventually awarded Tavernetti $1.4 million.
“We didn’t conceal it from them,” Parkinson said of his relationship to Tavernetti in the interview published Wednesday. “If I knew that 10 years later I would run for sheriff, would I do it differently? Yes, I would make sure it was on the record that we disclosed it.”
Parkinson and the plaintiff’s attorney, James Murphy of Arroyo Grande, have maintained that Murphy disclosed the family connection to the defense attorney Frank Cunningham before the trial began.
Cunningham died two years ago and both his co-counsel and private investigator on the case have stated they had no knowledge of the Parkinson relationship.
Parkinson, currently a captain with the San Luis Obispo police department, is facing retired Pismo Beach police chief Joe Cortez in the Nov. 2 election.