Hank (Eli prefers it when he uses his Egyptian name, Ankh) found the answer to why the Department of Justice refused the recommendation of Eric May to bring a criminal referral against Charles Monnett. Turns out that our Inspector Clouseau has a track record.
His technical incompetence maneuvered the DOJ into bringing a case which came to a rather embarrassing end against the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District,
David Overvold, the district's lawyer, Lyman McConnell and two irrigation district employees — John Baker and Shelby Cecil — were named in a 10-count indictment handed up in December 2008 by a federal grand jury in Reno. Cecil since has died.Turns out that Mr. Cecil had lung cancer, and Eric the Idiot showed up at his house unannounced in very IC manner. Cecil opened the door and reached for his oxygen tank. May thought he was reaching for a gun and rushed him. Just what a terminally ill man needs to get better.
Federal prosecutors accuse them of carrying out a scheme from 2000-05 to alter water delivery data to earn special "efficiency credits" that would entitle the district to more water and reduce a court-ordered water debt owed to the Pyramid Lake Paiute tribe.Ethon's new food group, Eric, was the technically challenged investigator who talked the Feds into bringing the case, and most of the information is buried under seal from the grand jury proceeding. However, the case being concluded, perhaps that (hi there Brian and Jeff) can be breached.
Overvold's lawyer, Craig Denney, had some not so nice things to say about Eric
Denney, a former federal prosecutor in Reno, has charged that May improperly coached and influenced witnesses, and altered witness statements, tainting grand jury proceedings and robbing Overvold of his right to due process.The outcome was pretty much an egg-on-the-face outcome for the DOJ
The Truckee-Carson Irrigation District (TCID), based in Fallon, Nevadaand the reasons for the dismissal were classic:
announced today that the Honorable James C. Mahan, Judge of the Federal District Court for the District of Nevada, has approved the dismissal with prejudice of all charges against the Truckee-Carson Irrigation District (TCID), Lyman McConnell, and John Baker in a federal indictment that was issued by the Grand Jury on December 3, 2008
McConnell and Baker agreed not to seek reimbursement of their attorneys’ fees and expenses in defending themselves against the charges if the government’s position was found to be vexatious, frivolous, or in bad faith. They also agreed not to file any claims against the government or its agents arising from the investigation and prosecution of the case.
David Overvold, TCID’s former Project Manager, who was represented by Craig Denney of Downey Brand, retired from his position at TCID, and has agreed to enter into a pretrial diversion program, while continuing to assert his innocence. After the pretrial diversion is completed in 18 months, the United States will also dismiss the indictment with prejudice against Mr. Overvold. Shelby Cecil, the former TCID Water Master, who was represented by Donald Evans, had charges against him dismissed on February 13, 2009, after he passed away.
“There were some significant concerns raised by these motions,” TCID defense counsel Michael Van Zandt said, “that undermined the government’s theory of the charges and demonstrated that the charges in fact were not well-founded. For example, TCID filed a motion that asserted that a political subdivision of a state, such as an irrigation district in the State of Nevada, is not legally capable of committing a crime. This is a long established view based on the fact that a governmental entity is not able to form the specific intent to defraud, only a real live person can do that.” As to the misconduct allegations, Mr. Van Zandt stated that he cannot give specific information, but indicated that it involved the manner in which the case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Interior Office of the Inspector General under the supervision of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.The Trial of Charles Monnett is deja vu all over again.
“If a person who was knowledgeable about the operation of an irrigation district with over 600 miles of canals, laterals and drains and some 70 water meter measuring devices had been involved in the investigation, this case would never have been filed in the first place,” Van Zandt stated. “Running an irrigation district on the scale of the Newlands Project, with over 3000 water right owners, receiving over 13,000 water deliveries in a single year, takes a lot of knowledge and experience to understand what is going on and how the deliveries are measured and reported,” Mr. Schank said. “You just can’t pick up a chart or report and understand everything that was involved with that water delivery without having the necessary background, and without investigating all of the circumstances behind a water delivery,” Schank added.
Kate Rutan, the Interim Project Manager for TCID had this to say: “I witnessed an honest man give up his dreams to build something worthwhile because of this indictment. I witnessed a kind, gentle, very ill man die with the accusation that he had committed a federal crime punishable by 20 years in jail hanging over his head. I witnessed an organization of honest hardworking people brought to their knees financially because of this indictment.”