Press Release: June 28, 2021
Today South Feather Water & Power Agency updated its website to include copies of public records of recent correspondence with North Yuba Water District. These public records can be viewed at https://southfeather.com/nywd
On June 18, 2021, NYWD filed a lawsuit against the Agency alleging claims related to the NYWD/Agency 2005 Agreement. Among other terms, the 2005 Agreement entitles NYWD to a share in annual net power revenues (if any) for some of the Agency’s hydroelectric powerhouses. According to NYWD Board President, Gary Hawthorne “For years they [the Agency] have denied North Yuba access to information, and for the better part of the past year, they have limited our formal, legal requests for [accounting] records. This litigation was avoidable by South Feather if they had simply provided the transparency required under the 2005 Agreement.”
Mr. Hawthorne’s statement on NYWD’s behalf is categorically false. As the public can read for itself, the Agency offered on November 4, 2019, to jointly retain a qualified independent forensic accountant to review all financial records and accounting standards and practices and render an opinion as to the appropriateness of the Agency’s bookkeeping under the 2005 Agreement. NYWD rejected this offer.
The public can also read that the Agency has repeatedly sought to simply talk with NYWD about the 2005 Agreement and to answer any questions NYWD or the public may have concerning the 2005 Agreement. In response, NYWD has refused to talk and refused all of these offers to meet. In 2021 alone, NYWD has rejected over 10 (ten) Agency offers to discuss the 2005 Agreement in a transparent, open and public meeting.
To ensure prompt resolution of disputes, the 2005 Agreement requires that NYWD raise “any dispute” with the Agency and that the parties make reasonable and good-faith efforts to resolve the dispute before filing any legal action. The Agency has repeatedly implored NYWD to engage in good faith in this meet and confer process, including recent letters dated June 3, 2021 and June 17, 2021 before NYWD filed its lawsuit. NYWD refused to meet and confer pursuant to the 2005 Agreement and, instead, chose to rush into court.
Rather than focusing on NYWD’s core mission to provide water to its customers, NYWD has instead pursued bogus claims against the Agency and others. Over the last year, NYWD has incurred over $300,000 in legal fees with nothing to show for it. Meanwhile, NYWD has failed to perform its essential function as a water district, including NYWD’s obligation to use its best efforts to maintain facilities to provide available water supply to NYWD irrigation customers. Recognizing NYWD’s inability to perform, the Agency on May 7, 2021 offered to assist NYWD in undertaking emergency work to repair NYWD’s Upper Forbestown Ditch. Despite having at least three intervening board meetings, the Agency’s offer has not been agendized or considered by NYWD’s Board of Directors. Since the Agency’s offer has not even been discussed or considered, the Agency believes that NYWD board members are not even aware of this very generous offer that results in a win-win-win to all parties and addresses critical drought and wildfire concerns. The Agency encourages the public to review NYWD’s legal counsel’s response to the Agency’s offer of assistance dated June 8, 2021 and the Agency’s response through its legal counsel dated June 11, 2021 in the link provided.
In sum, the unfortunate reality is that NYWD has gone rogue. NYWD lacks leadership. NYWD has failed to perform its essential functions as a water district by providing water available during emergency drought conditions. The Agency sincerely hopes that NYWD’s malfeasance does not result in loss of food or fiber, the livelihood of the customers of NYWD, or, worse, contribute to and enhance an already critical wildfire threat to our communities.
The Agency urges the customers and voters of NYWD, and the governing authorities of Yuba County, including the Yuba County Grand Jury, to carefully review the acts and omissions of NYWD.
September 16, 2020SFWPA invites NYWD Board to participate in 2021 Budget reviewPDF
|April 8, 2019||NYWD contracted with Dr. Lon House to investigate revenue payments. Initial request for information dating back nine years.|
|May 9, 2019||SFWPA acknowledges request for information and answers request. Time sheet request results in 20,107 pages.|
|May 29, 2019||SFWPA invites NYWD to advisory committee.|
|NYWD retrieves requested documents.|
|July 24, 2019||SFWPA visits NYWD to request Board Member to Board member discussion regarding topics of interest|
|SFWPA receives report from NYWD “Water & Energy Consulting Report”|
|November 04, 2019||SFWPA response to Dr. Lon House Report. Reminds NYWD of multiple requests for a joint Board discussion.|
|June 12, 2020||SFWPA invites NYWD Board to Operations Facilities Tour|
|September 11, 2020||SFWPA response regarding Public Records Act Request from NYWD and Power Purchase Agreement||PDF
|September 28, 2020||Letter from NYWD Maupin declining offer to meet|
|October 20, 2020||Public Records Act request from NYWD’s General Counsel, Barbara Brenner.|
|January 22, 2021||New NYWD Special Counsel Daniel Stouder Letter. Request for same information provided during previous investigation.|
|January 25, 2021||NYWD’s consultant conducted initial inspection of records|
|February 8, 2021||Counsel Daniel Stouder Letter – Request for additional information|
|February 10, 2021||SFWPA response to allegations and threat of legal action|
|April 10, 2021||Daniel Stouder letter demands $3,200,949.90 to NYWD|
|April 21, 2021||SFWPA’s General Counsel Dustin Cooper’s response to NYWD’s demand letter, activation of 2005 Agreement’s conflict resolution clause and dates available for meeting.|
|May 7, 2021||Letter from Dustin Cooper offering assistance to NYWD based on 1996 Mutual Aid Agreement based on the disrepair of the Upper Forbestown Ditch.|
|May 14, 2021||Letter from SFWPA Cooper to NYWD Taber threatening demurrer|
|May 10, 2021||SFWPA and NYWD meeting|
|May 11, 2021||Letter from Dustin Cooper to NYWD
2019 Capital Assets Spreadsheet
2019 Joint Facilities Operating Fund Presentation
|May 17, 2021||Letter from Daniel Stouder regarding May 10th meeting|
|May 25, 2021||Letter SFWPA Cooper to NYWD Taber response to May 10, 2021 Letter PRA|
|May 28, 2021||Letter NYWD Taber Public Records Act request to SFWPA|
|June 2, 2021||Letter from SFWPA Cooper to NYWD Taber re CEQA Settlement|
|June 3, 2021||Letter from Dustin Cooper response to May 17th meeting and NYWD’s refusal to discuss matters in an open meeting|
|June 4, 2021||Letter from SFWPA Cooper to NYWD Vergara & Taber re Settlement proposal|
|June 8, 2021||Letter from Michael Vergara of Somach, Simmons & Dunn announcing this office serves as General Counsel for NYWD. Response to offer of mutual aid.|
|June 11, 2021||Letter from Cooper to NYWD and Vergara. Explanation of offer and CEQA.|
|June 11, 2021||Letter from NYWD Vergara to SFWPA Cooper re: Settlement Proposal|
|June 22, 2021||Appeal Democrat Press Release|
|June 28, 2021||Letter from Moseley to Maupin invite to discuss new power purchase agreement|
|June/July 2021||NYWD Newsletter|
|July 6, 2021||Letter from Vergara to Moseley re: 6/28/21 letter|
|July 12, 2021||Letter from Vergara to SFWPA regarding July 7, 2021 Letter|
|July 14, 2021||Letter from Moseley to Vergara regarding July 12, 2021 letter|