District Attorney’s Office files unfair competition lawsuit against the third-party private management company of the San Simeon Communities Services District
Author: District Attorney
9/28/2021 3:16:20 PM
The District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit has filed a civil lawsuit against Grace Environmental Services, LLC. and Charles Grace after concluding a one-year joint investigation with the Fair Political Practices Commission into alleged conflict-of-interest and other violations at the San Simeon Community Services District.
District Attorney Dan Dow announced today that the District Attorney’s Special Prosecution Division Public Integrity Unit has filed a civil lawsuit against Grace Environmental Services, LLC. (GES) and Charles Grace following a one-year joint investigation with the Fair Political Practices Commission. The civil complaint alleges that Grace Environmental Services, LLC. and its owner Charles Grace violated various state laws while providing all of the day-to-day management, operation, and services for the San Simeon Community Services District (SSCSD) since 2014.
The civil lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, which is a court order to stop the violations, and civil penalties concerning alleged violations of California’s Unfair Competition Law and False Advertising Law. “Unfair competition” includes any unlawful, unfair, or fraudulent business act or practice. The lawsuit lists nine causes of action addressing several issues of unfair competition including allegations that Grace and GES sent threatening letters to a District resident, sought to mislead the District’s Board of Directors concerning the District’s investigation of potential conflict-of-interest violations, and engaged in accounting practices that unfairly interpreted contractual provisions and financially benefitted GES.
Click here to view a copy of the full complaint.
It is important to note that a civil complaint contains allegations that must be proven in a court of law by sufficient evidence.
The filing of this civil lawsuit is consistent with the stated purpose of the Political Reform Act of 1974:
“Public officials, whether elected or appointed, should perform their duties in an impartial manner, free from bias caused by their own financial interests or the financial interests of person who have supported them.” California Government Code section 81001, subpart (b).
District Attorney Dan Dow created the office’s Public Integrity Unit in 2015, in recognition that citizens of San Luis Obispo County have the right to expect that their elected and appointed officials will carry out their duties in a lawful, ethical and professional manner. They also have the right to expect that administrators, supervisors and the immediate subordinates of elected and appointed officials, who play an integral role in achieving the mission of the office holder, will discharge their duties and obligations in the same lawful, ethical and professional manner.
A primary goal of the Public Integrity Unit is to increase the public's level of trust and confidence in its elected and appointed officials serving in local agencies. To this end, the District Attorney's Office will use all resources at its disposal to detect, investigate and prosecute criminal misconduct at all levels of public service.
All matters referred to the Public Integrity Unit for consideration will be thoroughly and fairly reviewed. Criminal charges or civil cases will be filed in all appropriate cases.
Please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at 805.781.5819 with any questions.
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