Grego responds to grand jury’s report
July 14, 2010
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Concerns raised by the El Dorado County Grand Jury about South Lake Tahoe City Councilman Bruce Grego’s $937.50 reimbursement are misdirected, the councilman told the Tribune.
The 2009-2010 grand jury report released in June questions the reimbursement Grego received in March for a legal opinion on a potential conflict of interest related to the stalled convention center and condominium project near Stateline.
Grego has represented Lakeside Park Association for years. The company was slated to provide water to the project, whose developer is now in bankruptcy proceedings.
The grand jury report questions the reimbursement because jurors felt it was backdated, was unusual for it not to be approved in open session and did not include a written contract in accordance with city policy.
Grego said he was not interviewed by the grand jury during the investigation and said the grand jury got it wrong.
“They have the wrong set of facts to draw their conclusion,” Grego said.
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“If they’re really concerned about a thorough investigation, shouldn’t they talk to the person they’re accusing?” Grego added.
Grego reiterated previous statements he’s made about the money, saying he followed direction from City Manager David Jinkens and City Attorney Patrick Enright regarding the reimbursement. He maintains that he never saw a conflicting opinion from former City Attorney Jacqueline Mittelstadt.
The councilman said the reimbursement was not backdated because he received pre-approval from Jinkens.
He said he was unaware of any city policy that would require a written contract.
In an interview earlier this month, El Dorado County Deputy District Attorney James Clinchard said the grand jury findings are consistent with a letter he wrote to councilmembers regarding the Grego reimbursement at the request of Councilman Jerry Birdwell.
In the letter, Clinchard said the reimbursement did not appear to be criminal.
The grand jury report is consistent with the letter because it makes no mention of an improper public gift and did not include a recommendation to pursue criminal prosecution of the reimbursement, Clinchard said.
While Grego said he was disappointed in the grand jury report’s characterization of the reimbursement, he said he wholeheartedly agreed with a recommendation in the report that city council members receive more training.
He said the city has been “really cheap about not sending us to the proper training,” Grego said.
“The only way we’re educating ourselves is on the job, and it shouldn’t be that way,” Grego said.
The city manager and city attorney are working on responses to the grand jury report and are expected to present them to the City Council for approval at a subsequent meeting.쇓