District Attorney: Grego reimbursement was legal
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A $937.50 reimbursement from South Lake Tahoe to City Councilman Bruce Grego was legitimate, according to the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office.
In a letter to council members on Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney James Clinchard wrote that documents provided by City Councilman Jerry Birdwell and a review of the April 15 South Lake Tahoe special city council meeting do not appear to show criminal conduct was behind the payment.
The city reimbursed Grego in March for legal fees he paid South Shore attorney Dennis Crabb for help reviewing a potential conflict of interest regarding the stalled convention center and condominium project near Stateline.
“From my review of the evidence you provided, there does not appear to be any criminal violation of law relating to Council Member Grego’s reimbursement for legal fees,” Clinchard wrote in Tuesday’s letter.
Clinchard wrote that Birdwell could submit a complaint to the El Dorado County Grand Jury as well to see if they would investigate the matter.
But Birdwell said Wednesday he would not pursue the issue further.
“The DA has answered my question that that there was no criminal activity or that this did not rise to the level of criminal activity,” Birdwell said.
Because Grego received approval from City Manager David Jinkens prior to incurring legal fees, the fees were “reasonably related” to official city business and City Attorney Patrick Enright approved the fees prior to Grego being reimbursed, the grand jury would be unlikely to find wrongdoing, Clinchard wrote.
“Thus, in my opinion, it is unlikely that the Grand Jury would find that the fees were an improper public gift or that such conduct constitutes willful or corrupt misconduct,” Clinchard wrote. “Whether or not such conduct violated South Lake Tahoe city guidelines for reimbursement is an issue best left to city government and the SLT City Council.”
Tuesday’s letter was “vindication” that the reimbursement was handled properly and nothing criminal or unethical took place, Grego said Wednesday. The councilman thanked Clinchard for his prompt review of the issue.
“In my mind, this was put to bed last Thursday, but this is the icing on the cake,” Grego said.
Both Grego and Birdwell said the allegations of corruption raised at the April 15 city council meeting would not effect the council’s ability to work together.
Resolution of the issue will allow the city to deal with more pressing matters, Grego said.
“I’m looking forward to working the my fellow council members and do what we were elected to do,” Grego said.
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