Robert Shaw Allegedly Threatens   
   Lawsuit Against the Newberry CSD 

Newberry Springs Senior Center

What appears as frivolous litigation is threatened.

Shaw apparently believes that the Senior Center has a legal right
to seize community directed funds.

•   Editorial   •
November 29, 2012


      At the monthy general meeting of the Newberry Springs Senior Service Association on November 19, 2012, it is reported that Robert Shaw, husband of President Ronnie Shaw, made a public statement threatening to sue the Newberry Community Service District (CSD) if the service district did not release CSD controlled community funds to the senior center.

      This statement came despite the fact that the senior center has twice earlier received a reported total of $33,000 to assist the PRIVATE association become solvent.  Each time that the senior association comes before the CSD, the association asks for a greater amount of money.

      Due to mismanagement, the association has continued to operate in the red.  It would appear ludicrous and a failure of the CSD's fiduciary responsibility, as the overseer of the Kiewit-Pacific community funds, to grant the senior association their additional request for yet more operational money.

Is the CSD prudently barred from granting the request?

      The threat that has come from the November 2012 senior assocation's general directors' meeting may have temporarily barred the CSD from the discretionary granting of the seniors' request as the CSD cannot now, under the direct hostile duress of a threatened lawsuit, freely grant the request.

      Without legal counsel, the CSD should not even be in discussions with the senior association with the threat of a pending lawsuit weighing over them.  Why is the CSD board continuing negotiations without legal counsel?

The CSD's powers are delegated by LAFCO and are limited.

      The Newberry CSD is an organization that is organizated under the Local Agency Formation Commission for San Berardino County (LAFCO).  The CSD's powers are solely those that are specifically granted by LAFCO.

Newberry Springs Senior Center

Is the CSD improperly acting as a trustee?

      The sole powers of the CSD as granted by LAFCO may arguably not include the liability of taking on the large role of acting as a fiduciary trustee for a private transaction between multiple parties; even if the CSD was a party to the transaction.  This raises a question as to whether a meddling CSD was properly acting in a legal capacity in the negotiations with Kiewit-Pacific or whether the governmental matter with Kiewit-Pacific was under county authority.  The parties settled on the appeal before a decision or legal filing.

      The CSD directly involved itself in a strong-arm tactical appeal against a county permit regarding Kiewit-Pacific.  With limited authority under LAFCO, and being a county authorized entity under State Law, can a CSD properly file an external appeal against the county?  An appeal is a precursor to litigation.

      The underlying question is who is legally responsible for repayment to the community's fund for financial losses due to negligent mismanagement?  This is not money from the General Fund but from a special TRUST FUND where extra cautious fiduciary duty is owed.  Is the CSD insured for this?  To name two problems, we have thousands of dollars wasted on the fiasco purchase of a road grader that many in the community adamantly warned against acquiring; and already $33,000 of unmonitored services connected with the senior association are apparently not financially documented.

      As the Newberry CSD has been acting as a fiduciary trustee over the extorted Kiewit-Pacific "donation gift" to the community, the mismanaged fund has dropped by over $200,000 without commensurable benefits to the community for the thousands of dollars expended.  The fund balance may increase should the proceeds from the sale of a road grader (that was purchased with the funds and is now being sold at a loss) is replaced into the fund.


Are the individual CSD board members liable?

      It could be argued that the individual CSD board members may have over extended their legal authority by controlling and managing the trust funds.  They may have INDIVIDUALLY gone beyond the scope of the legal descriptions of their duties and they may have placed themselves as liable for the replacement of the Kiewit-Pacific funds that have been lost or not documented.

      The CSD board members may be liable for the reckless loss of tens of thousands of dollars.

The CSD board members may hold a conflict of interest regarding the senior center.

      Excluding the small, local Subway shop and the tourist oriented Bagdad Café, the senior center's Drifting Sands Café is the only facility that offers a full menu.  Subsequently, it is believed that most of the CSD board members regularly patrionize the restaurant and do hold a personal monetary bias for it to remain in operation as its closure would require costly travel for similar food service.

      Although not known by this source, some CSD board members may also have a conflict of interest in holding a membership in the senior association and/or have an immediate family member that holds membership.

The Senior Center was not part of the community decided distribution
of the Kiewit-Pacific funds.

      When the Kiewit-Pacific community funds were made available, an extensive community-wide survey was undertaken to determine how the funds should be distributed.  Numerous ideas were submitted and the information compiled.  One of the top two items included funding for youth oriented projects.  Not one respondent in the survey voiced an interest in any funding being directed to the Newberry Springs Senior Service Association or its senior center.

      Despite this community survey directive, the CSD board trustees have twice sent bail out funding to support the senior association.  The youth have yet to be beneficiaries.  It is fitting that all of the remaining Kiewit-Pacific community funds, including proceeds from the road grader's sale, be utilized for the benefit of the youth of our community.  It is time to build something with the funds that will last and that all may enjoy.