San Simeon directors refuse to pay attorney, want to see bills

September 21, 2022

Legal counsel Jeffrey Minnery


At a San Simeon Community Services District meeting on Tuesday, the directors voted unanimously not to pay their attorney firm because attorney Jeffrey Minnery is refusing to provide them unredacted bills.

During the past two monthly meetings, the San Simeon board voted not to pay the legal form of Adamski Moroski Madden Cumberland & Green until they provide unredacted bills to board members. In explaining his reluctance, Minnery voiced concerns the bills would be leaked to members of the community.

Minnery is the attorney for 11 districts, and in the past members of the public have asked to review unredacted bills, a request Minnery has denied.

For a district of only 550 residents, the legal bills appear exorbitant. In July, with the district battling several legal threats, the bill was $11,655.

In comparison, San Miguel, a community of 2,536 residents allows all board members to review unredacted attorney bills. In July, with San Miguel also battling several legal threats, the bill was $10,287.

In the past, an attorney for Los Osos Community Services District was terminated after it was discovered he was padding his bills, according to former director Julie Tacker. For example, the former Los Osos CSD attorney almost double the hours he spent at a meeting in his bill.

“The directors are the fiduciaries for the community, and just like checking your grocery store receipt, they need to be able to see the legal invoices to make sure they are not overcharged,” Tacker said.

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Padding hourly bills is an art form attorneys learn right out of law school. Timothy Carmel attorney for AG (and a bunch of other little government entities) gets a contracted $170.00 an hour. I know this because I did a public records request. about a year ago. When you work that cheap you have to do a lot of padding. In this County a real lawyer gets $400/an hour maybe more (and still pads).

To assert the attorney client privilege to your own client is ridiculous. The attorney client privilege protects the dealings between the lawyer and client from third parties,

As far as presenting a redacted bill to a client, that comes from the far reaches of the cosmos.

The slim ball is to lazy to pad the bill so instead he redacts it. No one should ever pay a redacted bill.

If I was the Simeon directors I wouldn’t pay the guy five cents, Let the attorneys file a collection suit and cross complain for all previous redacted padded bills. Also, file a complaint against the lawyer and law firm with the State Bar. Even they would not believe this crazy story.

Traditionally, believe it or not attorneys bill in 6 minute intervals. So an hour is 10 intervals. This makes it harder to pad. So, if you have an 8 minute phone call you are billed for 12 minutes not an hour.

Watch these bozo’s read this comment and come up with an unredacted bill for half as much.

This all presumes their s nothing in the fee agreement that provides otherwise,

There’s two things to remember about attorneys. Ya gotta hate ‘em and you gotta hate em more,

How do you authorize payment for a redacted bill? What can possibly need to be redacted?

If anyone besides folks like Julie and Hank ACTUALLY attended and participated in these important issues, you would have heard Minnery explain that the firm’s reasoning is due to “attorney-client priviledge”, which IS a real thing in the legal world.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Director Giacoletti, in a rare moment of clarity, commented that the “client” in this case is the District, which the board members oversee, so redacting the bill from THEIR eyes did not seem necessary.

The TRUTH of the matter is that iron-fisted, gate-keeping Board chair Gwen Kellas is petrified the public (Julie and Hank) will have access to this information. She stated this during Tuesday’s meeting – although she couched it as “it will get posted on Nextdoor”. Her disdain of activists Tacker & Krzciuk is palpable, every meeting.

This community service’s district is poorly represented with Chair Kellas at the helm. She is the epitome of the Boomer generation’s “my way or the highway” mentality. She is her own worst enemy when it comes to Brown Act violations, running successful and useful board meetings, etc. She even gate-keeps from her OWN board members! Poor fellow Director Donahue, who repeatedly attempted to get clarification, include useful and pertinent information, ask valid questions, etc, was stifled by Chair Kellas. It was embarrassing to witness how uninformed she was and how she flat-out lied about things – ie, what actually constitutes a Brown Act violation, in her attempt to intimidate an outside contractor AND board member Donahue. It was a very cringe-inducing moment, but just one of many.

Lastly, I would like to bring to the public’s notice, as well as to put Chair Kellas AND legal council Minnery on notice, that when Director Donahue lost connection during Tuesday’s *special* meeting, they no longer had a voting quorum and the meeting should have been stopped and cancelled at that point.

The list of inadequacies Chair Kellas and legal council Minnery create, encourage and participate in is disheartening.

Change is needed, and the first step in that change is getting rid of Kellas as Chair AND as a Director.

Yeah, there’s an open minded opinion. Slightly prejudiced against older citizens?

If the client is the district, then isn’t the community the client? I don’t see how a lawyer can say they’re protecting attorney client privilege when they’re withholding the information from the very client they claim to protect. I’m not a lawyer and the law may have been been crafted to make this maneuver legal, but it certainly would not be in the spirit of even the most narrow definition of public justice