VENTURA : Port Commissioner Urged to Resign Post

Ventura City Councilman Gary Tuttle has called for Robert (Nick) Starr to resign from the Ventura Port District Commission because Starr failed to disclose his involvement in a 24-year-old bribery case.

Tuttle, who made the statement at a City Council meeting earlier this week, put the issue on Monday's agenda. Starr declined to comment on Tuesday.

Starr was appointed to the commission in June. About a month later, it was revealed that the 59-year-old property manager was convicted of bribe-taking while he was a Los Angeles Harbor commissioner. The case was later overturned on appeal.

Starr said in an earlier interview that he felt that it was not necessary to mention the case in his application or interviews with city officials. He has denied any wrongdoing.

"I think we have cause for removal," Tuttle said. "I just wish he'd resign. I wish he resigned a long time ago."

But Councilman Jack Tingstrom defended Starr.

"I think that the man has been persecuted beyond all comprehension," he said. "If I was accused like he was and raped by the press, I would fight just as hard as he has."

On Monday, the council will decide whether to direct City Atty. Peter Bulens to prepare a case against Starr. With a majority vote, the council can order Bulens to move forward, but it would take a 5-2 vote to remove Starr from office.

Bulens said the whole process could take up to two months.

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