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Steve Wagstaffe Feels the Heat

Original post made by fireball, Atherton: Lindenwood, on Apr 29, 2010

I was blind copied in on an e-mail from the then disgraced and now celebrated Atherton ex Finance Director to San Mateo County Counsel Michael Murphy.

This note provided a window into the peculiar behavior of Mr. Wagstaffe\'s office. It is worth a read.

Dear Mr. Murphy

Please forgive me if I creating the impression of calling Mr. Wagstaffe a liar. I mean no disrespect. However I am at a bit of a quandary. I trust that Mr. Wagstaffe with his many years of experience in practicing law is quite conversant in the subject. I also would expect that with the resources available to his office that he would be able to call up and to accurately convey the full body of opinions the California Attorney General has issued on the topic of conflicts of interest. Mr. Wagstaffe would no doubt also avail himself to the full body of California case law on the matter.

As a lay person, I also find it hard to fathom that a defendant in a federal civil rights case in which said defendant is accused of aiding and abetting illegal conduct would not have a conflict of interest.

So there you have it Mr. Murphy, I believe that if Mr. Wagstaffe has not lied outright, he has fabricated, prevaricated dissembled, fudged or told a half truth.

But then again perhaps it is possible that I being disrespectful by implying that Mr. Wagstaffe has lied to the press and by extension to the public. I am not an expert on the ethics of attorneys. I am a CPA. For me, to lie would constitute a breach of my professional ethics. For attorneys perhaps the art of lying is just one\'s stock in trade. I suppose that by calling Mr. Wagstaffe a liar it is entirely possible that I am paying him a compliment.

Having said that, I do know that there is no sin greater than to be caught in a lie. Whether Mr. Wagstaffe has been caught in a lie depends upon his response to the public records request which is presented herein.

I ask that you as County Counsel or by copy of this e-mail to Mr. Wagstaffe produce copies of any and all opinions issued by the California Attorney general which supports the assertion Mr. Wagstaffe made to the Almanac News as quoted below and as accessible in the link following said quotation:

Regarding Mr. Buckheit\'s claim that because his lawsuit names the county, the district attorney shouldn\'t be involved in the investigation, Mr. Wagstaffe said, \"If we had a legal conflict, we would withdraw.\" Opinions issued by the state attorney general support the involvement of the district attorney under the circumstances, he said.
Web Link

In transmitting this public records request I would also like to take the liberty of issuing you a word of caution to you Mr. Murphy, that you should relay to your client.

Mr. Wagstaffe\'s office declined to prosecute allegations of criminal conduct on the part of high placed elected and appointed officials in Atherton, despite overwhelming evidence that I brought to his attention. Mr. Wagstaffe also expended nine months investigating me on allegations of fraud before rendering a decision to decline prosecution. I understand from your previous e-mails that Mr. Wagstaff has unlimited discretion as to the level of discretion in such matters according to California law. However, federal civil rights law I respectfully submit to you is an entirely different matter.

It is entirely possible for instance that Mr. Wagstaffe has conspired with the Town of Atherton to violate my right to freedom of speech, my right to due process and my liberty interest in public employment by spending nine full months investigating me at the request of the Town of Atherton, while my civil litigation with the Town was in process.

It is entirely possible that Mr. Wagstaffe has engaged in honest services fraud, a violation of federal anti-corruption laws.

It is entirely possible that Mr. Wagstaffe, in addition to being the target of a civil lawsuit, could find himself a defendant in a criminal case.

I have asked for a copy of the investigative report by Mr. Wagstaffe\'s office in response to my criminal complaint.

I would call your attention to the fact that Mr. Iva Grosshauser stated in his March 25, 2010 letter to me that he \"thoroughly\" investigated my criminal complaint. I am not willing to take Mr. Grosshauser at his word. I want to see his investigative report. As I have the status of being a victim in this matter, I do believe I am entitled to see this investigative report.

I would note that if Mr. Wagstaffe refuses to provide a copy of this report I will consider intervening in Mr. Buckheit\'s federal civil rights case against Mr. Wagstaffe. I will also ask my friends in the Town of Atherton (I have many friends in Town now that I have been formally recognized by the City Council for my meritorious service) to use their contacts to have the US Attorney investigate Mr. Wagstaffe personally on a possible violation of federal anti-corruption statutes.

As you may know, I have settled with the Town of Atherton. However Mr. Wagstaffe presents a very inviting target of opportunity and the US District Court constitutes a very attractive venue.

In summary, Mr. Murphy, Steve Wagstaffe can stonewall and he can lie to his heart\'s content. If he does, however, rest assured that he places the County of San Mateo in very grave legal jeopardy.

Please respond to this public records request within 10 days.

Please reply to this public records request in PDF format via reply e-mail. If you are unable to do so, please advise me of the expense for producing the records requested herein and I will gladly pay for them.

My home address is



John P. Johns, CPA


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