Din of Saber-Rattling Increases in Lebec

By Patric Hedlund

Fur was flying Monday, March 15 at the modest cinder block building that houses the Lebec County Water District office. A panel was established to ask the Attorney General or Kern County Grand Jury to investigate the LCWD to confirm for customers the status of the besieged district. The president of the board, Darren Hager, initiated the proposal. He said he would recuse himself from any votes on the matter, saying he personally planned to file civil defamation charges against former board member Robert Karr and his wife Millie Karr.

“There are malicious rumors going around and I am going to explain the truth,” announced Hager early in the meeting.

About 40 people attended the board’s regular meeting, but noticeably absent were the Karrs. They had invited 50 people to the Holiday Inn Express Friday, March 5 to urge LCWD customers to join a recall effort to remove current board members. Millie Karr alleged theft and misfeasance by the current board.

Hager said the Karrs had been personally invited to attend the Monday meeting. “Robert and Millie Karr Board Allegations” was an agenda item.

Also absent was Jeff French, the civil engineer and business partner of Emilie Wainright who designed the 12-inch line. Jagmit Mann and Lexander Singh, co-owners of the Holiday Inn Express were also no-shows, despite the fact that the engineering report about the hotel’s emergency fire needs and the functional status of the district’s distribution system—a report which the hotel’s owners had paid to create—was also on the agenda. Hager said the LCWD attorney’s calls and emails to the hotel’s attorney had not been answered. He said the district would do “everything we can to keep the hotel’s doors open.”

LCWD’s Water Operator Kris Hollands said, “this warm weather is putting a smile on everyone’s face, but if it goes on for two weeks, we are in serious trouble.” He warned that the State Well, the major water producer for the entire district, was off-line because of problems arising from the installation by Wainright and French of the 12-inch pipe to the hotel. Rob Karr and former board president Bruce Koch were closely involved with connecting that pipe into the main system.

This is part of the March 19, 2010 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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