Supervisor Gary Ovitt

Supervisor says Kirk didn’t control his office
Sandra Emerson, Staff Writer
Created: 07/26/2011 05:28:51 PM PDT

Grand Jury testimony released Friday does not accurately portray who was in charge in the county’s 4th District, according to Supervisor Gary Ovitt.

Witnesses described Ovitt as a quiet supervisor who allowed his former chief of staff, Mark Kirk, to make the important decisions.

Kirk was one of four people indicted on suspicion of conspiracy and bribery related to the county’s $102 million settlement with Colonies Partners LP in 2006.

“Basically, I would say (the testimony) gave a very small piece of what took place. It really does not match Mark’s and my relationship,” Ovitt said. “I think we worked well together. Mark had an aggressive personality and was able to get a lot of things done for me, and so he took the lead in that regard on a lot things.”

The Grand Jury heard testimony from 45 witnesses before indicting Kirk, former Supervisor Paul Biane, Colonies co-managing partner Jeff Burum, and Jim Erwin, the former head of the county’s public-safety union and assistant assessor.

Prosecutors allege Kirk secured and delivered Ovitt’s vote to settle the dispute between the developer and the county.

Ovitt said the prosecution asked the witnesses specific questions to prove their allegations.

“They’re trying to prove that Mark Kirk influenced my vote in the Colonies (settlement), and the truth is he did not, so that was what they were trying to get,” Ovitt said. “It showed that he had an inordinate amount of influence over my vote. Once again, it’s not true.”

Ovitt believes the perception of Kirk’s influence may have been reinforced around the time the board terminated Mark Uffer as county administrative officer.

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