The criminal case against the Kissel Co., stemming from alleged sewage overflows on its Paradise Cove property, moved one step closer to trial Friday when the court set a trial-setting conference for Nov. 18.
Kissel faces 25 counts of misdemeanor violations of environmental codes.
Kissel attorney Richard Regnier told the court he still hopes the case will be settled and that negotiations are proceeding in good faith. He explained, “There’s a pending civil action that will resolve everything in the criminal case and a lot more.” About 90 residents of the mobile home park in the Cove have filed a suit against Kissel for failure to properly maintain the park.
At the same time, though, Regnier requested that the court grant Kissel a jury trial, for which he needed ample time to prepare, saying, “This is not a garden-variety case.” Deputy District Attorney Robert Miller, in the middle of another trial, called during the hearing to ask the court for a trial date to be set within the next 30 to 40 days.
The court decided to postpone the trial until at least after Thanksgiving. How, or even whether, a trial will proceed will be determined at the upcoming readiness conference, the court explained.
Neither side would discuss what the sticking points are in the plea bargaining.
Residents of the park who attended the hearing appeared shocked and bewildered by Kissel’s apparent willingness to stand trial. They say they never thought that Kissel would put up such a fight.
But the residents quickly put on a brave face. “It looks like there’s going to be a trial. The sooner the better,” said Roger Goldingay, president of the Paradise Cove Homeowners Association. Yes, he’s disappointed with another delay, but he’s not surprised. “Kissel has managed to delay everything but cashing rent checks,” he remarked.
The Kissel Co. had no comment.