Shakeup begins in San Simeon, attorney resigns before dismissal

December 11, 2022

Legal counsel Jeffrey Minnery


In response to a request for a special meeting to review and discuss the possible dismissal of San Simeon Community Services District’s legal counsel, district manager Charles Grace refused to put the issue on the agenda and attorney Jeff Minnery tendered his resignation.

Three people ran unopposed for three open seats on the board: incumbent Michael Donahue, Karina Tiwana and Jacqueline Diamond. All three candidates voiced concerns regarding Grace and his company Grace Environmental Services, which manages the district.

Under the lame duck directors, Minnery promoted having the board agree to pay an additional $141,000 in legal bills for Grace, bills related to a San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office investigation. The board then voted to pay Grace’s legal bills.

The SLO County District Attorney’s Office filed a civil suit in Sept. 2021 against Grace alleging illegal business practices and false advertising. Prosecutors are asking the court to order Grace and his staffers to stop conducting unlawful and fraudulent acts of unfair competition and to stop making untrue or misleading statements.

Concerned that Minnery appeared to be working primarily to support Grace and special interests at a cost to the ratepayers, the new directors sought to have the review of legal counsel placed on the agenda. However, Grace denied their request and Minnery submitted his resignation, “effective as soon as new counsel can be appointed.”

“It has been a pleasure to work with you over the past several years,” Minnery wrote in his Dec. 5 letter of resignation. “I suggest the board seek new representation as quickly as possible.”

With only 195 registered voters, San Simeon is divided into five areas, each with between 35 and 45 voters. As the result of mismanagement and issues with voters willing to run for the board, the newly elected directors want to look into dissolving the district.

“It really doesn’t work from a logistics standpoint, not enough citizen activists who want to serve,” Donahue said.

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DA Dow only gave John Wallace a slap on the wrist when he stole millions from the SCSD funneling it through his company so I reccomend the people in San Simeon not hold their breath waiting for Dan Dow to go after Charlie Grace’s theft.

follow the money