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John Wallace faces new criminal charges 

Former South SLO County Sanitation District Administrator John Wallace is once again facing felony charges after the SLO County District Attorney’s Office announced it filed a second criminal case against the 73-year-old businessman.

Wallace was already facing both felony and misdemeanor conflict of interest charges in connection with his tenure as the South SLO County Sanitation District’s administrator. The new charges stem from Wallace’s time as general manager of the Avila Beach Community Services District (CSD) and include an additional two felony and two misdemeanor charges.

The recently filed charges allege that Wallace used his official position with the CSD to influence government decisions in which he had a financial interest. Similar to his time at the sanitation district, Wallace was not only the CSD’s general manager, but he was allowed to use the engineering firm he founded, the Wallace Group, to provide some services.

According to the criminal complaint filed by the District Attorney’s Office, Wallace used his position to encourage the Avila Beach CSD’s board of directors to approve a contract with another company he owned at the time, Fluid Resource Management (FRM).

“In his role as general manager Wallace advised and encouraged the [district’s] board of directors to contract with FRM to provide these services,” the report said.

The new charges echo the allegations made in connection with Wallace’s role at the sanitation district, where an independent audit showed that the Wallace Group raked in millions in fees and major budget item projects.

Wallace appeared in SLO County Superior Court May 7 for an arraignment on both cases, and pleaded “not guilty” to all the charges against him. “This complaint is newly filed, but doesn’t contain new ideas,” a statement from Wallace’s attorney read. “As before, the District Attorney’s charges are based on contacts and events that go back many years and were publicly disclosed and approved.”

At a May 9 meeting, SLO County 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton referenced Wallace’s legal troubles when she voted against giving the company a contract for on-call consulting services for the county.

“I just in good conscience, with the south county sanitation district in my area and the grand jury report, need to vote no on this,” Compton said.

The contract was approved on a 3-1 vote.

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