Two CSD Directors Conspire
To Cover-Up $700 Payment

March 1, 2013

Calvin Owens at the February 26, 2013 CSD board meeting.

Directors Royalty and Owens block public discussion.

      The Newberry Springs Volunteer Fire Department reportedly (though not verified) has never paid for anyone to acquire DMV driver license training; though some fire vehicles require a commercial license.

      Assistance to pass the California commercial driver's test on air brakes or other components of the DMV are freely available through Internet search engines and YouTube.  Although having someone hold your hand (for $700) at the DMV for comfort is understandable and necessary for some people.

      It is not surprising that on his last day of being a CSD director that Robert Seeley would conspire to sign-off on Calvin Owens' request to be paid for his unauthorized personal DMV training a year earlier; payment that Owens had been reportedly informed a year ago was not authorized.

      Owens has subsequently served as a CSD board director.  He has aligned himself and voted at Seeley's will on the Seeley-Royalty-Owens block vote that predominated much of Seeley's term.

      This blind, invincible camaraderie between them apparently led to the February 26th CSD debacle where, when faced with an agenda item that accused him of lying and fraudulently acquiring $700 of CSD's funds, Owens indignantly strutted that the topic was a personal attack against him, and that he wanted the item removed from the agenda.

      In an orchestrated conspiracy, CSD president Royalty suddenly agreed and claimed power under the CSD Bylaws to unilaterially remove the topic from the agenda.  He waved a piece of prepared paper in the air claiming the CSD attorney had approved his right to remove the item.  This raised cries of criticism from director Wayne Snively and the agenda item's sponsor, director Diana Williams.

      According to the Ralph Brown Act, directors are to handle agenda items in open public forum.  Here Owens and Royalty not only conspired and secretly discussed and preplanned their action on the agenda item before the meeting; but without the knowledge nor consent of the other board members, they hired the CSD's legal counsel who apparently advised them to utilize a weasel maneuver in the Bylaws that reportedly (according to Royalty) allows Royalty as president to remove an agenda item.

      Legal expenditures in the past have been pre-approved by board vote.  As the legal cost by Owens and Royalty for Owens' personal defense of an agenda item was not a CSD emergency and not board approved, the Newberry Springs taxpayers should not pay for the legal costs.  Especially, when such expenditure was secretly undertaken and yet another probable violation of the Ralph Brown Act.

      The CSD board has had a hard time holding a single meeting that doesn't contain a Brown Act violation.

      Movement by the board currently appears to center upon whether Owens needs to reimburse the CSD for the $700 he acquired.

      This matter however now goes far beyond simple restitution.  We have the alleged elements of lies, misrepresentations, theft, and a growing conspiracy by others to allegedly assist in the theft and cover-up.

      Possible persons of interest in this matter includes Director Owens as the principle suspect; Robert Seeley and former interm fire chief Thomas Stickley who reportedly signed-off approving the previously unauthorized payment (a year late); and now CSD president Robert Royalty who appears to be conspiring to assist Owens in covering-up any transparency of the matter before the public.

      The CSD's February general meeting offered an excellent opportunity for Owens to explain his actions and any misunderstandings or ignorance of regulations; instead, a strong denial of any wrongdoing was presented for the public to be satisfied with.

      The matter now appears to be a possible criminal issue that should be immediately referred to the county's sheriff's department, the district attorney's office, or state attorney for resolution.

(Original story on the alleged fraud.)

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