SLO: Ex-Sanitation District Manager Can’t Face Civil Suit for Conflict of Interest

A former manager for the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District who had his own company provide services for the agency cannot be held civilly liable, the county has announced, because the statute of limitations has run out.

San Luis Obispo’s announcement means the county cannot collect monetary damages from John Lee Wallace, who pleaded no contest to two counts of misdemeanor conflict of interest last year and was slapped with a nearly $60,000 fine.

KSBY reports:


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 [Avila Beach 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.

Wallace was employed by the South San Luis Obispo County Sanitation District for more than 27 years before his wrongdoing was exposed. He was charged by the District Attorney’s Office after a 10-month long investigation.