Phone records debunk public officials

August 11, 2011

Paavo Ogren


San Luis Obispo County phone records obtained by CalCoastNews prove a personal relationship between a county official and a Los Osos board member began more than four years ago.

County Public Works Director Paavo Ogren and former Los Osos Community Services District Board member Maria Kelly are being investigated by the county for a possible conflict of interest. The investigation was prompted by allegations the couple were involved in a close personal relationship while Kelly was voting on issues that impacted Ogren.

Critics contend Ogren and Kelly failed to comply with closed session privacy laws, conflict of interest rules, residence laws and ethics rules.

In her defense, Kelly claims she began dating Ogren about six months ago and they have never discussed issues regarding the sewer.

Her former husband, Shaun Kelly, said Ogren would tell Maria Kelly how she should vote on district issues before board meetings and would follow up with discussions over closed session meetings, a claim supported by Ogren’s county cell phone records.

These records show Ogren and Kelly spoke regularly from early 2007 though late 2009, when Ogren stopped using a county cell phone. Some calls lasted more than an hour and many were made during the work day.

For example, on Jan. 2, 2009, Kelly called Ogren at  9 p.m. and they remained on the line for more than two hours, their third phone exchange that day.

Critics claim that the relationship between Ogren and Kelly began before Kelly ran for office in 2008. Ogren went as far as paying people cash for promoting Kelly’s election, several Los Osos residents said.

At the same time, Ogren was under fire for illegally backdating a government contract.

Ogren was temporarily running the Los Osos district when Montgomery Watson Harza (MWH) was retained by the district for wastewater project management in early September 1999. Prior to his work with the district, Ogren had worked for a subcontractor of MWH.

Ogren did not sign the contract, nor did any board member. Instead, Ogren waited several weeks until Bruce Buell began his stint as the new district manager, and then he told Buell to backdate the MWH contract.

In 2006, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Brown acknowledged that “falsification of a public record by a public employee is a felony,” and that a criminal act relating to the backdating apparently had occurred. But Brown declined further investigation by determining that a three-year statute of limitation had expired.

The 2006 LOCSD Board believed the district attorney’s decision was wrong because penal code Section 803(c) says the time limitations do not commence until the discovery of an offense and filed a complaint with the Construction Management Association.

The court stayed the complaint when the district filed for Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Protection.

MWH asked the district to drop its complaint to the contractors’ association in exchange for MWH forgiving a $1 million bankruptcy claim against the district.

Meanwhile, Kelly ran for the board and was seated in 2008.

On Dec. 17, 2009, Kelly voted in favor off the MWH proposed settlement. County phone records indicate that Kelly and Ogren spoke twice the morning before the vote, once the day after the vote, and four times on Dec. 19, 2009.

Kelly’s vote to settle that particular case nullified Ogren’s culpability in ordering the back dating of the MWH contract.

Ogren and Kelly have since both divorced from their spouses and allegedly spent many evenings at Ogren’s San Luis Obispo home.

On June 17, as suspicions grew that Kelly no longer lived in Los Osos, a requirement to serve on the board, she abruptly stepped down from her position as vice president of the district.

Maria Kelly contends she never moved out of her Los Osos home—a statement discounted by court documents filed by Shaun Kelly in May 2010.

“Maria moved out of the family residence in January 2010,” Shaun Kelly says in the documents. “She moved back in March or April 2010. She used the converted garage as her bedroom until August 2010 when I moved out with the children.”




  1. TheFacts says:

    Looks like the “downvoters” here got served on Razor.

    (-2) 10 Total Votes - 4 up - 6 down
  2. TheFacts says:

    You know, it’s a safe bet that most people here reside in the general SLO County area, and not just Los Osos — so to berate people as having an “anti-sewer” agenda (for supporting Velie’s article) is really wacky. It doesn’t make sense. To spend so much time harassing people with that babble is simply crossing the line into psychopath territory.

    (-2) 16 Total Votes - 7 up - 9 down
  3. MaryMalone says:

    I think we should write letters to the Grand Jury asking them to investigate the conflicst of interest between Paavo “Sewer Vision” Ogren and Maria “Booty Call” Kelly.

    Has anyone kept a log of the votes Kelly made on Ogren’s sewer vision? It will save time if we don’t have to go through the records and get the dates and the name of the board item.

    (-1) 17 Total Votes - 8 up - 9 down
    • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

      If you are so concerned, why haven’t YOU done this? Lazy?

      How do you prove it wasn’t Maria’s sewer vision?

      (1) 15 Total Votes - 8 up - 7 down
  4. Vallybear says:

    So here we sit, the residents of Los Osos, who were originally told at the first meeting in the 1980’s that we desperately needed a sewer because of ‘all the blue babies that would be born if we didn’t” Does anyone else remember that ? How many blue babies have been born since then without the sewers? Anybody know??
    This may not be pertinent, but if you do not go to the LOCSD meetings, you should at least take a gander at the meeting videos which have been up to now shown on Channel 20(Charter). I have been watching and frankly I can’t figure out why we even have a CSD in LO. I didn’t vote for it, but I assumed (which is really a bad idea) that a CSD would be interested in and work for all the area.
    Last meeting, when Seitz (why are we paying him hundreds of dollars anyway? Oh wait, his brother is Wallace’s lawyer) was asked if the CSD was going to ‘do anything’ about the Kelly/O situation, he shrugged and commented that anybody who wanted to do anything could do it themselves and/or go to the Grand Jury.. When the director was asked for info about the so-called ‘low income” help to come, he responded that ‘the County was taking care of that – i think” and that was that.

    (2) 18 Total Votes - 10 up - 8 down
    • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

      I wasn’t here in the 80s Valleybear, but know that those entities that purvey water (CSD, Golden State – formerly Cal Cities – and S & T Mutual) are held to strict requirements as to water quality. If you live on a well, however… who would spread the word that your well was tainted?

      It isn’t just about blue babies. The water purveyors are now figuring just how expensive it is going to be to clean up the water in the polluted upper aquifer, to be able to blend it with the clean water in the lower aquifer, to stretch out the supply of good water which is imperiled – we are currently in Water Level Severity III, the worst county designation. You didn’t want to pay for an almost free sewer 30 years ago? Well, you can pay now to drink the cleaned-up water AND a sewer.

      What do you mean by, “a CSD would be interested in and work for all the area.”

      In case you are not aware of who governs CSDs, it is the state of California. As to an internal investigation – you really want that? Besides, the CSD is bankrupt, where would the money for that come from?

      In case you haven’t been following things, the CSD does not oversee or have anything to do with the current sewer project, it is up to the County and they ARE doing something. Katcho just wrote and got passed legislation for the County to create low-income rates for those in need.

      That’s so nuts – Seitz brother works for Wallace, therefore Jon is corrupt. Sure hope I don’t see you on any juries in this county. Seitz by the way is a bargain – you should have seen the bills from the Lisa Board’s lawyers Burke Williams, Sorenson.

      (2) 18 Total Votes - 10 up - 8 down
      • jimmy_me says:

        If we’re going to pay a billion bucks for something, I would rather it be something that my life depended on, such as clean water. Wouldn’t it be better to invest tons of money in a desal plant instead of a sewer? Another funny thing is that properties within the PZ are selling as “sewer exempt” (these of course are larger and thus more valuable properties). How is it that they’re polluting the ground water yet getting away with it?

        Avoiding a conflict of interest is not a statement of a persons character; it’s a professional approach to business. Apparently pro-sewer people seem to have a problem with professional oversights such as this.

        (0) 16 Total Votes - 8 up - 8 down
        • Lynette_Tornatzky says:


          Firstly, it is not a “billion” bucks. It is $189 million. Secondly, you have NO IDEA how much desal costs or the infrastructure needed, never mind the permitting needed to do that. You are essentially saying we need to hike our water rates by millions to accomplish this! Thirdly, septic tanks work on a large piece of property, therefore are not polluting! 8-12 houses on an acre does not cut it!

          What laws were broken? What was illegal? Is divorce illegal? The allegations are “he said/she said” and they have no merit. Why hasn’t anyone filed an FPPC complaint? What would the Grand Jury be looking at? Doesn’t it strike you as odd that all of the negative comments are coming ONLY from those who have opposed the County’s project all along? This is just another attack without merit to try to stop the sewer.

          (2) 16 Total Votes - 9 up - 7 down
          • MaryMalone says:

            LT, since your short-term memory seems to be impaired, I will re-state what I’ve advised you several times before.

            1. Regarding what laws were broken, etc.M/b>

            “County Public Works Director Paavo Ogren and former Los Osos Community Services District Board member Maria Kelly are being investigated by the county for a possible conflict of interest. The investigation was prompted by allegations the couple were involved in a close personal relationship while Kelly was voting on issues that impacted Ogren. Critics contend Ogren and Kelly failed to comply with closed session privacy laws, conflict of interest rules, residence laws and ethics rules.”
            Reference: Phone Records Debunk Public Officials. Karen Velie, Central Coast News, 8/11/2011.

            2. Conflicts of Interest.

            In CCN’s article, “State Investigation of Public Works Scandal Nearing End,” (, it is noted that SLOCo adopted conflict of interest code “patterned after the state Government Code. Both require financial disclosures by elected and appointed county officials and specific employees.

            California Codes, Government Code
            Section 87300-87314

            3. In case you forgot, the last conflict-of-interest-laden sex scandal between a County administrator and a professional not working for the County ended up with the County administrator being fired. Maybe Gail Wilcox can get Paavo Ogren a job with the City of Santa Maria, where she works in housekeeping or whatever now.

            “David Edge Gail Wilcox sex scandal”
            (Top-10 2009 Stories – Summary)
            A workplace sex scandal rocked the county in 2009 and ended with the termination of San Luis Obispo County’s top two administrators.
            In May, CalCoastNews broke the news that Assistant County Administrator Gail Wilcox had accused her boss, Chief Administrative Officer David Edge, of sexual harassment. In June, Wilcox filed a civil suit accusing Edge of sexual harassment, retaliation, discrimination, a hostile work environment and breach of contract.
            Both Edge and Wilcox were fired by the County Board of Supervisors. Edge was terminated without a formal reason as permitted by his contract.
            Gail Wilcox was terminated because of an affair she was having with the married Executive Director of the Sheriff Deputy’s Association, Tony Perry. The relationship coincided with the early 2009 negotiations between the county and the association in which Perry negotiated for the association while Wilcox acted as chief labor negotiator for the county.
            According to sources, Wilcox is now working for the City of Santa Maria…..

            Here’s one from Wikipedia’s entry under “List of American Federal Politicians Convicted of Crimes.”

            Lester Crawford (R) Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, resigned after 2 months. Pled guilty to conflict of interest and received 3 years suspended sentence and fined $90,000. “Ex-FDA Chief Gets Probation, Fine for Lying About Stocks”. The Associated Press. February 28, 2007.

            4. Red herrings, false accusations, and reframing the argument.

            Finally, you can forget that old worn-out saw of yours where you claim the only reason people question the Ogren-Kelly conflicts of interests and Ogren’s sewer vision is because they aren’t sleeping with him…no, that’s what Maria Kelly says….you say it’s because we just don’t want a sewer.

            Until you provide statistics (with credible references) proving this, I’ll just file it where I file the rest of your self-serving, unethical statements–in the “whatever” file.

            I already have a sewer, so right there, I prove you wrong.

            (-1) 17 Total Votes - 8 up - 9 down
            • Lynette_Tornatzky says:


              You have not reminded me several times, but we’ll let that go.

              1. “The investigation was prompted by allegations the couple were involved in a close personal relationship while Kelly was voting on issues that impacted Ogren. Critics contend Ogren and Kelly failed to comply with closed session privacy laws, conflict of interest rules, residence laws and ethics rules.”
              Reference: Phone Records Debunk Public Officials. Karen Velie, Central Coast News, 8/11/2011.”

              The County is going to find NOTHING. I’m sure the AG will be taking the word of anonymous critics with allegations referenced in a CalCoast news article over what the County finds. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!

              2. Disclosure of — what? What finances have been held back?

              3. David Edge and Gail Wilcox are relevant — how? You are saying this is a copycat crime? A Wikipedia reference is relevant — how?

              4. Reframing an argument is a crime? Do you REALLY think that the sewer critics are not attempting to use this to stop the project? You haven’t been listening then, have you?

              Call me names if it makes you feel better. I know it makes you crazy that you can’t control the outcome.

              (4) 14 Total Votes - 9 up - 5 down
        • Metatron says:

          You’re right about the “billion bucks,” Jimmy.

          The $189 million for the LO sewer is the pre-start-up price today, not the final price in 2015. The $189 million doesn’t include sewer-related costs such as water rate hikes, saltwater intrusion fixes, eventual imported water from Lake PaavoMaria — and an elevated loan interest rate over 40 years that brings project cost per home to $40,000, not $25,000 as Gibson lied on Congalton when asked him the total cost per home. And, if and when MWH grabs the project you can count on change orders and cost overruns — MWH’s trademark — to pump up the real price of the sewer and related costs closer to the half-billion-dollar mark.

          And you know what happens two weeks after you pay off your car payments, Jimmy? Your car breaks down… and you have to go out and buy a new one. That’s exactly what will happen with the sewer just before the 40 years of payments are up. It’s called ‘planned obsolesence.’ They’re building a faulty sewer guaranteed to break down and crack, spilling raw sewage into LO’s threatened water supply (5% leakage is already considered “allowable”)… The costs of repairing and replacing the most expensive sewer will once again fall squarely on the backs of PZ homeowners. And you can’t replace the water, so the cost of water will rise yet again.

          The billion dollars is the total value of the real estate ripped off of Los Osos homeowners ejected from their homes because they couldn’t afford Paavo’s corrupt sewer vision. The land grab is the real master crime here, although the County will gladly keep the sewer, take your water, and sell it back to you as theirs.

          The sewer is just the device to steal the land for the banks and realtors to sell over and over again, and for the increased property taxes to fuel development and bureaucracy. It was obviously never about the water.

          (-4) 14 Total Votes - 5 up - 9 down
          • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

            You can inflate the price any way you want – just don’t forget this is what the people did to themselves. It’s nuts to think you can live close to the ocean with this sort of density on septic tanks! The people also didn’t want Step in case you forgot. Your conpiracy theories are supported by an unvast minority.

            (2) 14 Total Votes - 8 up - 6 down
      • MaryMalone says:

        LOL. Jon Seitz’ charges are “a bargain”?

        You’ve been hanging out with the Scammin’ Ogren-Kelly Duo too long.

        Good point about the CSD being under the jurisdiction of the State. We don’t have to wait for the County to quit their “investigation” charade, and go straight to the AG. The AG works VERY well with the FBI, apparently, going by what’s happening with Gearhart, et al., and heck! they’re hear, anyway!

        In fact, it may end up going in a roundabout way to the County supes and County administration (Ogren), since that Gearheart mess didn’t happen in a vacuum, and there had to be County officials up to their tits in the Gearhart corruption.

        (-2) 14 Total Votes - 6 up - 8 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      When do they show the meetings on Channel 20?

      ITA about Seitz–how he and his brother have remained in business is beyond me.

      How much does LOCSD pay Seitz per month? NCSD, another Jon-Seitz CSD, recently paid him $23,000 IN ONE MONTH.

      At least he is on record now as anybody who wanted anything done about the fraud and corruption in the Maria-Kelly/Paavo-Ogren kootchie-kootchie-koo business to advance Ogren’s sewer vision, can just go to the Grand Jury. Do you remember what LOCSD meeting that was?

      Okay, let’s get to it. Letters to the Grand Jury, folks, and pass the word in Los Osos.

      I’m sure, with the amount of negative “public relations” work LT has been doing, the good folks of Los Osos would welcome the chance to get rid of Kelly and Ogren, because that means their LT sock-puppet would go with them.

      (-1) 11 Total Votes - 5 up - 6 down
      • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

        Anyone can find out what Seitz makes as it is listed on the monthly LOCSD warrants register. Why don’t you know when the meetings shown on channel 20? Why don’t you know which meeting “it” was? Why don’t you “pass the word” in Los Osos? Lazy? Actually, it looks like you don’t live here anymore.

        (0) 10 Total Votes - 5 up - 5 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      Ooops, ValleyBear, one more thing.

      The County Public Health should be able to tell you how many infants were born:
      1. During a certain period of time;
      2. With a pre-delivery maternal home in Los Osos;
      3. With methemoglobinemia related to nitrates.

      They may be able to do more sophisticated sorting of the data, too.

      (-2) 12 Total Votes - 5 up - 7 down
  5. Maxfusion says:

    I resided in Los Osos 92-97 at the beginning of the Los Osos sewer scam. First of all, it’s a perfect, yes perfect, location for septic. It’s a mountain of sand. The bay contamination sturdy was, and still is a scam by EnviroCrats. I told my neighbor at that time that this project will never happen. It was then and still is a circle jerk for the incompetent, blowhards that wouldn’t last a day in the private sector. We sold in 99 when the writing was clearly on the wall. What’s the cost to date for each resident for the sewer that will never be?

    (1) 13 Total Votes - 7 up - 6 down
    • RU4Real says:

      Max, I agree with everything you’ve said. You were very wise to sell & get out in ’99. However, I cannot do that, so I’m just stuck here with all these Neanderthals. My home was purchased in ’87, brand new at the time. I’m stuck here because of the purchase price for the home, (& what I could get on today’s market), but also because of property taxes…I simply would not be able to afford a “comparable” home anywhere else.

      (-2) 10 Total Votes - 4 up - 6 down
    • Lynette_Tornatzky says:

      Maxfusion, the sewer is coming despite your negativity. There is nothing left to stop it.

      Bay contamination aside, what about our upper aquifer, a former drinking water supply which is too contaminated with nitrates to drink and has trace elements of caffein, drugs and body care products in it? But I suppose you will deny that the septics had anything to do with that…

      Well, the sewer is coming despite the great cost to each resident. A $25,000 assessment (if you pay up front), around $3,000 if you paid up front on the last sewer assessment, increased water bills to treat the contaminated upper aquifer water so it can be blended and used with the lower aquifer water AND the unknown monetary and psychological costs to those who got CDOs from the Water Board.

      (-6) 14 Total Votes - 4 up - 10 down
      • Guy_Wise says:

        LT please give it a rest. The people of LO know what has happened and justice will be served.

        (4) 12 Total Votes - 8 up - 4 down
      • Maxfusion says:

        Ok Lynette here’s my challenge. You set a timeline as to when this project will commence. You’ve already stated, in writing, that’s there’s “nothing left to stop it”. OK then, put your money where your mouth is. I’ll put $20,000 in an interest bearing escrow, and bet you it will never happen within your agreed upon timeline. In light of the fact you stated “there is nothing left to stop it” I’m sure we can come to a reasonable agreement as to the length of that timeline. Notice I said commence, not finished. In other words, the project is fully funded, a contractor has been hired and on site and the plans are through the County and in use. I’ll await your reply.

        (3) 7 Total Votes - 5 up - 2 down
      • waytogo says:

        The major problem for many of us is the cost. Why does it have to be the most costly system in the US. The added financial burden come dec.. is going to force many to loae their homes. That will be very hard on longtime residents.

        (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
        • MaryMalone says:

          Probably all those calls between Ogren and Kelly.

          (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
      • Lynette_Tornatzky says:


        I don’t bet big amounts like that. Been to Vegas, played the quarter slots a couple of times. Went to a racetrack, won a few bucks. But why do you think I should bet anything with you? I’ve never even seen you on the blogs before. Maybe you know me though. Not equal if you see what I mean. I could win and you would vanish.

        You didn’t respond to my comment on the upper aquifer’s pollution. It used to be a drinking water supply, but no more. So you think the septics had nothing to so with that? Really?

        Why do you think the sewer will never be?

        (-5) 5 Total Votes - 0 up - 5 down
      • jimmy_me says:

        Think about it… no matter where you look at this project, you see complete incompetence and corruption. In the end, people will be forced out of their homes and those who stay will be paying $300/month for a sewer while they watch their home values take a giant hit. The people in the PZ are generally not overly rich (except maybe for the ones with the large properties and are “sewer exempt”???). In the end, you have a giant project being forced on people by a corrupt county and state government.

        I doubt the good people of Los Osos are going to sit back and do nothing. Have you heard of the Arab Spring? Have you seen what’s going in with the BART thing? How about the Ohio and Wisconsin uprising? I certainly would not underestimate the economic pressures forced on people and the lengths they will go to in order to protect themselves from self-serving politicians. The sewer may or may not happen, but either way, I predict it’s going to get *really* ugly. Please don’t ask me to place any bets on it.

        (2) 6 Total Votes - 4 up - 2 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      QUOTING MAXFUSION: “It was then and still is a circle jerk for the incompetent, blowhards that wouldn’t last a day in the private sector.

      Max, whether or not the sewer is ever built or not, ITA with the comment I quoted.

      Especially the politicians in LOCSD, there are a lot of small fish in an even smaller pool who have prolonged the sewer fiasco for their own political and financial profit. This ensures that, no matter the outcome of the sewer fiasco, it will be much more expensive to the residents who have to pay for it than it would have been if those small-fish politicians had not pimped the avarice and greed of those politicians.

      (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
  6. Moderator says:

    some comments removed because of repetitive personal attacks. If you have something new to add to the discussion great lets hear it. ( leave out the mental diagnostics please, we can all read for our selves )

    (8) 12 Total Votes - 10 up - 2 down
    • MaryMalone says:

      Dang. I went and visited the in-laws for a few days, and it looks like I missed out on all the excitement.

      (3) 5 Total Votes - 4 up - 1 down

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