San Simeon board member resigns, officials mum on future plans

October 2, 2021

By KAREN VELIE

A San Simeon Community Services District elected official resigned shortly after county prosecutors filed a civil suit on Sept. 28 alleging illegal business practices and false advertising against a company paid to manage the district.

At a Sept. 30 special meeting called to looked into their general manager, the district informed the public that Bill Maurer had resigned. Maurer, who had been on the board for approximately a year, is under a Fair Political Practices investigation for conflicts of interest, as is board chair Gwen Kellas.

San Luis Obispo County prosecutors accuse Charlie Grace and his company Grace Environmental Services, which is paid to manage the district, of unfair and illegal business practices.

The San Simeon CSD board responded to the civil suit by calling for a special meeting that included a closed door session for a review of Grace’s performance, under Government Code 54957 (b) (1), which allows closed door reviews of public employees, but not of contractors. At the same time, Grace claims he is not a public employee.

At the end of the closed session meeting, the board announced they took no reportable action, though they said there would be information provided at their Oct. 12 board meeting.


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Julie

There are currently six open investigations into San Simeon CSD representatives by the FPPC:

Board Chair (at the time), Mary Margaret Maguire (resigned in April 2020)

Vice Chair (at the time), John Russell (resigned in October 2020)

Director, William Maurer (resigned Thursday)

Board Chair, Gwen Kellas

General Manager, Charles Grace

Water and Budget Committee member, Michael Hanchett


Last week the District Attorney filed nine causes of action in a civil suit against the General Manager and his firm.

https://www.slocounty.ca.gov/CountyOfSanLuisObispo/media/DistrictAttorneyMedia/DistrictAttorneyMedia/GES-FILED_Complaint.pdf


Last month the County completed its investigation into three grants totaling over $1M, staff’s recommendation to the Board of Supervisors is to take one for $500K away and tell San Simeon to get back in line when you’re ready. (Misrepresentation is a theme with this district).


Last year $250K in grants were rescinded for misrepresentation and conflicts of interest.


The SLO County Grand Jury has an open investigation into this CSD as well.


More agencies are looking at San Simeon, with the potential of more investigations.


A developer represented by Jeff Stulberg and Babak Naficy has filed a lawsuit against the SSCSD in Federal Court for delaying due process in responding to his request for a water will serve. The case is complicated, but if the SSCSD had just handled the matter timely, professionally and ethically they may not be in as much of a mess.


It is time for a new board (Hey SSCSD Board members, resign now so the community doesn’t have to recall you). Get a new GM (and office staff). Oh and committee members should be required to be registered voters in the District, just like board members.


tidepool

I wonder why Greg Sanders left Cambria so quickly a while back? Now things seem to be making sense.


fish

anyone who is a signature on a bank account will be held accountable.


Hank Photo

Wonder when the next director will resign?


A bit unbelievable again, but one or more SSCSD board members were not provided a copy of the District Attorney complaint against Grace and company before the closed session performance review of “General Manager Services”. Interestingly, it is Grace Environmental Services that provides the materials for the Board meetings. How could the remaining directors have acted in a fully informed manner?