Local News

Oct 7, 2010 10:04 PM by Ariel Wesler

Parkinson responds to accusations of misconduct

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Candidate Ian Parkinson tells KSBY News he did nothing wrong when he testified in a legal case involving a relative. His sister-in-law won a major settlement after the death of her father and Parkinson was an expert witness in the case.

Transcripts from a court case back in 2000 are raising questions about San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Candidate Ian Parkinson's ethics.

He was hired to testify as an expert witness in a case involving his sister-in-law. Her father was killed in 1998 in a Monterey County car accident and she walked away with more than a million dollar settlement.

But in the transcripts, obtained by Cal Coast News, neither Parkinson nor his attorney ever publicly reveal the family connection.

"I disclosed it to the attorney. The attorney says he disclosed it at least twice," Parkinson said.

Reporter: Did it ever cross your mind that you shouldn't do this or that maybe your ethics might be in question?

"You keep going down to ethics and the challenge here is, when you disclose it, it's very ethical," Parkinson said.

He goes on to say he simply testified to his area of expertise and did not affect the outcome of the case. He says other experts also reviewed the accident.

"The issue was who was liable for that. That's not what the accident investigator does. The accident reconstructionist just says this is how the accident happened," Parkinson said.

Reporter: So, you're saying that the fact that your sister-in-law was involved is irrelevant for what you were asked to do?

"Yes, absolutely," said Parkinson.

"The appearance of an unethical activity is there and he really should have recused himself. It just seems so obvious, said Mike Carpenter with the Josephson Institute on Ethics. The Los Angeles-based non-profit group focus on ethical behavior in the workplace.

"That's probably a good rule of thumb, you don't. You don't want to do that, even if you know the person, absolutely," Parkinson agreed.

A Cal Coast News report also claims Parkinson ran his consulting business without proper state and local licenses. The candidate says he was told by the city he didn't need one. The State Department of Consumer Affairs tells us it's unclear whether he needed a private investigator's license... as it depends on the specifics of the work he was doing.

Since the case in 2000, the defense attorney has passed away, so we were unable to confirm whether Parkinson's lawyer actually told him about the family connection.

Parkinson's opponent Joe Cortez has been criticized over a disability claim he filed when he was with the Pismo Beach Police Department. You'll hear what he has to say about it on our news tomorrow at five and six.

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