Witness comes forth in Kaddis case
By Kelly Feser Eells
Last August, Neil Evans told the Ventura
County Board of Supervisors that his client, William Kaddis,
was not responsible for the illegal clearance of 301 state-protected
trees on his Lake Casitas-area property.
"Someone else did this," Evans was quoted as saying.
"I feel we've done a reasonable job of showing that."
The Board of Supervisors didn't agree; they determined, instead,
that it was a matter for the district attorney's office.
That office's Consumer and Protection Division reviewed the case
to see if criminal or civil charges were in order, deciding in
November of 2002 to file 11 criminal charges against Kaddis,
including illegal grading of the 43-acre parcel and filing a
false police report.
By January of this year, Evans was no longer representing Kaddis
and two, additional "nuisance" charges - related to
Kaddis' alleged operation of an illegal dog kennel - had been
added, bringing the total count to 13.
Kaddis' new defense attorney, Roger Diamond, asked for, and was
granted, three continuances, with a "final" trial date
set for April 1.
But several days prior to that date, Deputy District Attorney
Karen Wold reported that 22-year-old Abrim Soltes, the purported
"bulldozer operator," indicated that he'd be willing
to "negotiate" and/or strike a plea bargain with her
Soltes pled no contest to one count of altering the stream bed;
hillside erosion; and the removal of a state-protected tree,
Wold notes, "in exchange for his agreement to testify truthfully
at Kaddis' trial" - now set for July 15.
"The other counts against him (Soltes) will be dismissed,"
added Wold. "And he'll likely serve no time in jail - just
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