Another Study In Mismanagement: KID’s Attorneys
The majority faction of the Board of Directors took it upon themselves to hire extra legal counsel in the form of out-of-town attorneys Nathan Rietmann and Lawrence Kogan. While having good legal counsel is advisable, Rietmann also represents Tom Mallams, an off-project irrigator who opposes the KID’s claim for a water right, creating an obvious conflict of interest that Cheyne, Knoll and Smith have been willing to overlook.
Kogan, the Board’s New York City-based attorney hired to oversee the C-Flume contracts, has proven to be a more controversial figure. Along with chastising the board for following the vote of its patrons, Mr. Kogan has taken it upon himself to write editorials attacking local irrigators and directing the activities of the board in an often abrasive manner. To make KID’s legal matters worse, the KID board’s newly hired legal team is bleeding the district dry, and has already billed out over $100,000 in just the first four months of 2016, well over the amount budgeted for the entire year.
Both now have complaints against them with the Oregon Bar:
Most notorious for his work in Montana, this New York attorney was brought in under circumstances that lack the transparency KID patrons deserve and Oregon law requires. He’s attacked members of the community for speaking out against him, at times conducting himself in a manner that suggests the Board of Directors work for him, and has quickly drained the irrigation district’s legal fund to support questionable activities such as writing op-eds. Read the Case Against Mr. Kogan to learn more about how this attorney’s divisive actions have put the C Flume contract at risk.
Cheyne, Knoll and Smith hired Salem attorney Nathan Reitmann, the same attorney representing lame-duck Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams and his wife in a court case where Mr. Mallams is charged with illegally pumping groundwater after the state of Oregon in 2015 ordered him to stop. KID’s position in this litigation is opposite that of the Mallams. Reitmann’s representation of the Mallams and KID presents a clear conflict of interest. Even cursory due diligence prior to retaining Tom Mallams’ Attorney, Mr. Reitman, would have led a layperson to conclude a conflict of interest existed, and would not have even considered Mr. Reitmann, let alone retain him. Read the Case Against Mr. Reitmann to learn more about his other conflicts of interest and the Oregon Bar Complaint against him.