Official to Be Tried for Alleged Water Theft

The top official of a water district near Ojai will stand trial for allegedly stealing more than $1,300 worth of water for his rental home and horse boarding business.

Ventura County Judge Brian J. Back said at a preliminary hearing Wednesday that prosecutors have enough evidence to go forward with their case against Ron Singleton, manager of the Meiners Oaks County Water District. Singleton is charged with a single felony count--theft of utility services. His next court appearance has been set for Aug. 11.

Prosecutors say whether or not Singleton directly caused two water meters on his landlord’s property to stop recording water use--one in late 1995, the other in late 1996--he knew for years that his staff needed to fix or replace the meters and he effectively blocked those repairs.

“All the employees say they knew the meters weren’t working and Singleton knew the meters weren’t working,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Denise Grimes.


Edward Whipple, Singleton’s lawyer, said his client denies intending to steal water. He said Singleton is, at the most, guilty of being several months late with his bill, which has since been paid.