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Mojave Pistachios offers legal assistance to ICSD


At the Wednesday, June 8 regular Board meeting of the Inyokern Community Services District (ICSD), the Board gave a report on the closed session that took place at the beginning of the meeting. Tim Carroll, the spokesperson for ICSD announced that the Board had accepted Mojave Pistachios’ offer to pay for legal counsel.

Tim Carroll, ICSD
Tim Carroll, ICSD | Laura Austin Photo

According to Carroll, the Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schrack (BHFS) Law Firm was on the phone during closed session discussing the assistance they plan to offer. The firm will assist the ICSD in responding to the two lawsuits that have been brought against them. The GA has stated they have sent a registered letter to the ICSD. Carroll said no one on the Board had seen a registered letter. Carroll stated that he had placed several calls to the GA Chairperson, Phillip Peters, and other GA members with no response.

The major suit comes from the Indian Wells Valley Groundwater Authority (IWGVA) charging that the ICSD had pumped water and had not paid their required Replenishment Fee.

According to Carroll, the ICSD had received a copy of the suit about four months ago. The GA was requiring that the ICSD restrain and prohibit all operations of wells. Carroll says, “In short, they are requiring the ICSD to turn off the water supply to the community of Inyokern.” He stated, “The Board could not make much sense of this demand. That the fees be paid or the water will be cut off. The language seemed punitive and not appropriate.

There are certainly complications to turning off the water to all local businesses and residents. The Board does not know how to proceed.” Carroll stated, “The Board sent a letter to the GA requesting an opportunity to review the situation. There has been no response.

A charge of $2,700 was requested by the GA for one month but the ICSD had only received around $11,000 in collections. This lack of affordability prompted the Board not to pay the fee. Monthly collections generally run $8,000 to $10,000 per month. Our operational costs include the cost of running the street lights, the electricity for pumping the water, and maintenance costs such as repairing broken water lines, etc. It is of utmost importance that we make sure that our customers are served. We have a small staff and General Manager that works half-time.

From the beginning, since September 2018, the ICSD has paid the required fees. Our payments stopped in June 2021 since the GA was making it impossible for us to sustain operations. The (BHFS) Law Firm was
looking for ‘Good faith’ to work with the GA.”

At last month’s ICSD Board Meeting, Josh Nugent, representing Mojave Pistachios, spoke to the Board making this offer for legal assistance from their law firm. When asked by The News Review why Mojave Pistachios made this offer, he said “we wanted to offer this as a community service. We felt that the GA had made a move to target an agency that was providing needed services. We felt they were being bullied. We did not like to see them being bullied. As one of the largest businesses in the area we thought it our responsibility to give back.”