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Former SLO County Sanitation manager won’t face civil suit for conflict of interest

Posted at 11:45 AM, Jan 03, 2019

The former South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District administrator fined nearly $60,000 for permitting his own company to provide engineering services to the district cannot be sued in a civil suit because the statute of limitations has run out, SLO District officials said Thursday.

John Lee Wallace pleaded no contest in March to two counts of misdemeanor conflict of interest after investigators determined he awarded his own company, the Wallace Group, contracts during his time as administrator of the Sanitation District and general manager of the Avila Beach Community Services District.

As part of his March 2018 plea deal with prosecutors, Wallace agreed to pay more than $18,000 to the Sanitation District and $41,000 to the Community Services District.

But a legal opinion recently obtained by the District indicates Wallace can no longer face civil action for his crimes and the County cannot recover any monetary damages as a result.

According to the legal findings provided by the District, the statute of limitations for matters of conflict of interest, law self-dealing, breach of contract, and violation of the Political Reform Act runs out four years from the date that the violation should have been reasonably discovered and should have occurred prior to Wallace’s separation from the County in February of 2013.

Under those guidelines, civil action in those matters should have been initiated by February of 2017.

In regard to issues of fraudulent misrepresentation and conversion, the statute of limitations expired in February of 2016.