District ‘Drought Shames’|Tom Selleck in Court

VENTURA, Calif. (CN) – Tom Selleck filled a commercial water truck from a public hydrant 12 times and had it delivered to his home in Thousand Oaks, a public water district claims in court.
     The Calleguas Municipal Water District claims that Selleck continued swiping its water by the tankload after it had sent him a cease-and-desist letter to his addresses in Thousand Oaks and on Avenue of the Stars in Los Angeles.
     It claims it had to pay an investigator $21,685.55 just to document the water thefts.
     The water district sued Selleck and his wife, Jillie, on Monday in Superior Court.
     The Calleguas water district serves about three-fourths of Ventura County. It has just one well, and merely acts as a conduit and delivery system for the Municipal Water District of Southern California, which gets its water from Northern California, through the State Water Project.
     Calleguas says it saw a commercial water truck fill up from a hydrant by a construction site in Thousand Oaks and make seven trips into “the Hidden Valley area where the Selleck property is located,” between Sept. 20 and Oct. 3, 2013.
     It sent identical cease-and-desist letters to the Sellecks on Nov. 26, 2013, to their two addresses, but on Dec. 16 that year it saw the same water truck delivering to the Selleck property again, the water district says.
     On March 23, 24, 25 and 26 this year, the same white water truck did the same thing again, from the same hydrant, according to the lawsuit.
     Calleguas demands the $21,685.55 cost of investigation, court and attorneys’ costs, an injunction, and other damages to be determined.
     It is represented by Grant Burton with Cohen & Burge, of Thousand Oaks.
     Californians have added the phrase “drought shaming” to the American language since the long and continuing drought led Gov. Jerry Brown to order cutbacks this spring.
     Drought shamers take photos of lush, well-watered lawns and post them online, with the obvious inference, or direct accusation, that the property owners are violating the state’s mandatory cutbacks.
     Viewed from above on Zillow Tuesday morning, the Thousand Oaks address listed for the Sellecks in the lawsuit did not appear particularly lush. The 60.85-acre property has a house on a hillock, with areas of fairly dense trees or shrubs, but plenty of brown grass. There was no indication when the photo from the air was taken.
     Zillow said its assessed value was $10.2 million in 2014, though Zillow estimates often are high. Property taxes were estimated at $106,415 a year, and Zillow estimated the monthly mortgage plus insurance at $38,499.
     Selleck, 70, perhaps is best known as the television detective “Magnum, P.I.” Also a popular movie actor, he was won an Emmy, a Golden Globe and a People’s Choice Award. People Magazine called the “Blue Bloods” star one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world when he was 57.

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