Don’t send John Wallace’s excuses to law enforcement

February 3, 2016
Julie Tacker

Julie Tacker

OPINION by JULIE TACKER

An open letter to the south San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District Board:

It was with great disappointment that I read the agenda for Wednesday night’s meeting that includes a presentation by John Wallace to address the Knudsen Report. Mr. Wallace has had many opportunities to explain himself and has on as many occasions.

I have no doubt Mr. Wallace made his case to Mr. Knudsen when interviewed; yet the evidence overwhelmingly suggests Mr. Wallace engaged in unacceptable management practices and malfeasance.

Knudsen’s report tackles many facets of the districts management, but only skims the surface of where, in my opinion, the crux of the matter lies.

Mr. Wallace was the district’s administrator for 27 years. As administrator he was the districts secretary and fiduciary and was required, by his job description, to keep impeccable records to be housed at the district office. Instead, Mr. Wallace kept the district records at his office in San Luis Obispo where he could access them as needed for his convenience.

At the end of his service to the district in 2013, before returning the records, Mr. Wallace charged $98.00 an hour to “review” them, but only after his staff of administrative assistants and engineers billed $42 to $108 per hour over several months to purge, gut, catalog, label and box the 56 boxes of records at nearly $20,000.

According to Knudsen, the records were unkempt and pages were missing. There was no inventory kept of the records, so it impossible to know what is missing. The Knutson Report refers to an infamous quote made by the current director of the FBI saying “We don’t know what we don’t know.”

At the Jan. 20 board meeting, Director Matt Guerrero asked Knudsen if his report identified any fraud, Guerrero reported to Oceano Community services District Board on Jan. 27 that no fraud had been found.

In light of the most recent evidence associated with FEMA funds, in their letter addressed to Jeremy Fruend, a Wallace Group employee. Mr. Wallace was asking for funds to repair pre-existing conditions at the plant and for ineligible projects; this is federal money and this is fraud.

Mr. Wallace is attending your board meeting only to put his spin on what Knudsen has revealed.

Do not turn your back on the ratepayers of your district who paid Mr. Wallace millions of dollars over 27 years and will pay into the future through rate increases for projects that should have built long ago and the $90,000 Mr. Knudsen has been paid for his report.

Do not include Mr. Wallace’s presentation in the material your board sends to law enforcement. Your agenda item does not suggest any action will be taken with this regard, you would have to re-agendize that action for another meeting.

If law enforcement is interested in Mr. Wallace’s side of the story, surely they will subpoena him.


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11 Comments

  1. just the facts says:

    Was there any mention at the recent SSLOCSD board meeting as to when the Knudsen
    Audit Report will be sent to the District Attorney, the State Attorney General and the FBI?
    The ratepayers of the sanitation district need to push that this is done NOW! Enough!

    (9) 11 Total Votes - 10 up - 1 down
    • kayaknut says:

      I thought Mr. Shoals made some off handed comment about by Friday, today, but I guessing since it was done through the official channels, and voted on if carry’s no weight. With Shoals and Guerrero stalling I am guessing even by the next meeting it still will not be done if they can help it.

      (1) 5 Total Votes - 3 up - 2 down
  2. surferdude says:

    Do not worry..
    The three Board members knew all those pretty people from SLO were employees and bbq friends. Heck, they wore the company jacket!

    The report, the grand jury report, and all those minutes and artifacts will be sent on.
    This is good news.

    Many thanks to you hard working advocates who hung in there and especially Jim Hill and Tim Brown. We’re proud of you!

    (6) 32 Total Votes - 19 up - 13 down
  3. kayaknut says:

    I also got an insight into some of those “character” speakers for Mr. Wallace. It tells me a lot about their business if they support the theft by Wallace. I no longer want to support their businesses and will let everyone I know the type of people they support. Businesses by Mr. Bunckingham and Pacific Coast Kitchen Bath are two that I will not spend any of my money with, I will also check the video for others.

    (12) 38 Total Votes - 25 up - 13 down
  4. ajdury says:

    Tonight’s SSLOCSD meeting should make every rate payer incensed beyond measure.

    It was flagrant proof that board Chairman John Shoals has always, and continues to, give preferential treatment to John Wallace.

    At the start of Mr. Wallace’s “presentation”, John Shoals stated it was assigned a duration of 10 minutes.

    The first utterance out of John Wallace’s mouth, to start his presentation, was that he was going to take longer than 10 minutes.

    He didn’t ask, he didn’t beseech, he didn’t genuflect. He stated.

    My head snapped back in shock. Who’s house is this? The ratepayer’s appointed house or the man who has multiple Grand Jury investigations and a forensic audit launched against him?

    The SLO-span tape will show his actual run-time.

    John Wallace has been afforded thousands of hours, for millions of dollars, over 27 years – twenty-seven YEARS, to justify his actions and expenses. The average Joe and Jane ratepayer gets 6 minutes every month. Every month – six little minutes. A month.

    Tonight was an eye-opener. It taught me that all the little people, all the folks who fight the good fight, who have the answers when our neighbors ask “what’s going on” because they know we are paying attention . . .

    The good fight is this: We are all uselessly banging our heads against a wall trying to give our representatives a concussion.

    We are all caring more than many of our elected officials care.

    I can’t make John Shoals care more for his citizens than he cares for John Wallace. I can’t make Arroyo Grande City Council member Jim Guthrie care more for his elected responsibilities than he puts in the effort. I can’t make my District 3 supervisor Adam Hill care more for lowly me than he does for big money developers like Gary Grossman, Nick Tompkins and the PB guys, among several others.

    I care but I cannot care more anymore. I cannot care more than those elected, appointed and chosen to represent me and mine.

    Most of all, I cannot care more than YOU care. You guys have got to care.

    (21) 49 Total Votes - 35 up - 14 down
    • horse_soldier says:

      ajdury, you are not alone. Many do not worship at the alter of Wallace. Your district may be the first to expose him, you may not be the last.
      Stay the course.

      (18) 38 Total Votes - 28 up - 10 down
  5. justbeware says:

    Interested in a recap of tonight’s Sanitation District meeting??
    Mr Wallace’s offered up his version of the Kelly Gearhart defense–a packed room of employees and friends willing to offer up their reasons why Wallace isn’t a dishonest man, responsible for depleting district reserves:
    Wallace drove a POS car so he can’t be labeled as greedy.
    He picked up roadside litter, so he’s a good guy.
    He’s my Rotary buddy, so that makes him a good guy.
    I work for him, so he must be a good guy.
    It went on and on, and on.
    Then for good measure, Wallace’s attorney offered up some thinly veiled threats.
    Two weeks ago Mr. Knudson had the audience on the edge of their seats.
    Tonight, Mr. Wallace wasn’t able to convince anyone that didn’t work for him, or wasn’t a friend of his from SLO, that he wasn’t responsible for draining the district savings account and leaving ratepayers holding the bag.
    Too bad Mr. Wallace didn’t pack the room to hear Knudson–he was much more believable.

    (26) 50 Total Votes - 38 up - 12 down

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