If you’ve spent much time in the last few weeks reading the letters to the editor in the Herald and News, you’ve seen Klamath Irrigation District (KID) Chairman Cheyne, Vice Chairman Knoll and board member Ken Smith’s most ardent and vocal supporters arguing not only are these three men not pushing an agenda, they’re merely doing what they were elected to do, including hiring outside help to negotiate the C Flume contract. These folks have also stated this recall effort against these “honest” men is merely sour grapes from former board members and, therefore, has no merit.
Regardless of their view of the Board majority faction, the truth looks much murkier.
In Mr. Knoll’s Letter of Justification he called out the public records requests as distraction tactics being used to disrupt district business. However, in the request for lame duck Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams‘ emails, we’ve found several emails which, in our opinion, are troubling for KID patrons. Not only do these emails call into question who exactly Larry Kogan was working for, in our opinion, we feel they call into question Chairman Cheyne’s leadership in allowing outside, non-KID forces to have a voice in district decisions.
December 21, 2015
From: Joe Watkins
To: Grant Knoll; Brent Cheyne; Brian Quick; Pat Lunde; Tom Mallams; Senator Doug Whitsett
Subject: FW: More information for your website about clandestine liberal efforts to establish environmental initiatives that harm private property rights
This email counters Chairman Cheyne’s claim that Larry Kogan was found from a “Google search”, as he publicly stated at a KID board meeting. This email from Joe Watkins of the Klamath Soil and Water Conservation District on December 19th, 2015 (which includes Cheyne, Knoll, Tom Mallams, Senator Doug Whitsett and KID patron Pat Lunde in a forwarded email from Kogan), to us clearly indicates that Kogan was already working with Cheyne and his associates, requesting Watkins to share an attached document “with the irrigators”.
This raises the question of how Mr. Kogan came to our Basin, which wasn’t likely due to a “Google search” initiated by Cheyne. Read this email.
January 19, 2016
From: Brent Cheyne
To: Grant Knoll
Subject: Fwd: KID Issues
April 1, 2016
From: Larry Kogan
To: Thomas Mallams; Brent Cheyne; Grant Knoll
Cc: Erin Ryan; Dennis Linthicum; Joe Watkins
Subject: Not Available
Larry Kogan emails Chairman Cheyne, Vice Chairman Knoll and Tom Mallams as well as Cc’s Erin Ryan (Congressional staffer to California Representative Doug LaMalfa), Dennis Linthicum and Joe Watkins about the C Flume financing contract and the Bureau of Reclamation’s possible play to take over KID’s transferred works. Why Kogan was allowed to email non-KID entities (some of who have worked against KID in the past) with confidential documents is a major concern we want addressed. Further, he goes on to chide Cheyne and Knoll for their “failure to have me in the room yesterday with Moss Driscoll, a lawyer representing the BOR, after we had choreographed what we were going to say, and your failure to distribute the copies of the carefully written documents I prepared to explain the KID Board’s positions to the District members (which you were apparently warned not to bring to the Board’s special meeting), has placed the District and District members’ interests in great jeopardy.”
In this same email, Kogan goes on to tell Cheyne, Knoll, Mallams, Ryan and Linthicum that he feels KID’s lawyer Reitmann (also Mallams’ attorney) “has intentionally deceived or incompetently (due to his short legal practice experience) deceived you into believing it can all be worked out”, and “effectively works for the other team (BOR)”. In Kogan’s opinion, the board needed to “terminate Reitmann and permit me to do my job if you want the District to have a fighting chance at coming out of this positively”.
The internal bickering of newly hired KID attorneys is certainly disturbing, especially since KID patrons are paying the bill. What this also demonstrates is that Kogan was sharing the inner-workings of KID with outside, non-KID influencers. Kogan was clearly sharing client information with these people – who were not paying his bill. Read this email.
March 31, 2016
From: Larry Kogan
To: Erin Ryan; Tom Mallams; Dennis Linthicum; Doug Whitsett
Subject: Statement to the Press
Larry Kogan has again emailed California Representative LaMalfa’s staffer Erin Ryan, Tom Mallams, Dennis Linthicum and Doug Whitsett about KID affairs and included a press release about the KID Board of Directors Special Meeting. The press release, dated March 31st as well, delves into the topic of the meeting (the C Flume contract) and the documents prepared by Reitmann and Kogan.
Once again, Kogan is sharing information with four people who are not KID patrons, and whose interests are not those of the patrons. Read this email.
March 31, 2016
From: Larry Kogan
To: Dave Cacka; Greg Carlton; Brent Cheyne; Nathan Reitmann
Subject: KID Board Special Meeting of March 31, 2016 – C Flume Financing Contract (1 of 2)
Kogan emailed Chairman Cheyne, Dave Cacka, Greg Carlton and Nathan Reitmann about the C Flume Contract and the associated documents.
While this is appropriate, the fact that he blind-copied Tom Mallams on this raises more questions. Did Chairman Cheyne direct Kogan to Bcc Mallams in on this, or did Kogan do this all on his own again? Read this email.
These emails, in our opinion, provide further evidence why Chairman Cheyne, Vice Chairman Knoll and Mr. Smith need to be recalled. We believe they suggest that the Klamath Irrigation District Board majority were active participants in a political gambit led by outside interests with an agenda contrary to the well-being of KID.
There is no reason why Attorney Kogan was emailing Mallams about KID business, which we believe is a breach of client-attorney privilege, especially when considering Mallams’ conflict of interest relative to KID groundwater rights matters. Were Cheyne, Smith and Knoll aware of these emails? If so, did they direct Kogan to send them?