SAN JOSE (BCN) — The owners of a Los Gatos nudist resort were arraigned Monday for allegedly diverting water last year from a creek owned by the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, a Santa Clara County deputy district attorney said.
Glyn Stout, 77, and his wife, Lori Kay Stout, 53, were arraigned on a felony count of conspiracy by Judge Allison Danner in the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice, Deputy District Attorney Denise Raabe said.
The couple, who owns Lupin Lodge, was also arraigned on misdemeanor charges of trespassing, substantially diverting water, operating and/or leaving a motorized vehicle on MROSD property, trespassing by driving a vehicle on a closed property and performing maintenance or clearance on MROSD property, Raabe said.
“This case is about a business who ran out of water last year in the middle of our drought and decided to divert water from their neighbors for their personal use,” Raabe said.
The couple appeared in court with their attorney Monday out of custody and did not enter a plea. Their next court appearance was scheduled for Sept. 1.
Two other defendants in the case, 49-year-old John Berryessa and 38-year-old Michael Buckland, both resident-employees at the lodge, are both scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon at the Hall of Justice.
Last July, the defendants asked the open space district if they could install temporary pipes from Hendry’s Creek to their lodge, Raabe said.
The district, a regional agency that manages more than 60,000 acres of land, had warned the owners to stop diverting the water, but they allegedly defied the orders and trespassed on the creek, according to Raabe.
The lodge’s employees allegedly stepped onto the district-managed creek, at times arriving in cars, between July 28, 2014 to Nov. 1, 2014, Raabe said.
“It isn’t OK to just see water flowing in a stream and decide to go take it,” she said.
Video evidence from wildlife cameras owned by the district shows an old fire trail was cleared, resulting in environmental damage, and water lines were installed at the creek and other springs that all ran to the lodge, according to Raabe.
The cameras also took photos of the people trespassing the property and carrying plastic tubing, she said.
The district removed water lines first installed by the defendants, who reinstalled the pipes after the warning, Raabe said.
District rangers later found water lines in the creek going up to the lodge, Raabe said.
“Hendry’s Creek went dry as it crossed over into the Lupin Lodge property. And with the fourth year (of drought) I would assume that the same thing is happening so it’s important to make sure that no more diversions occur,” Raabe said.
All the defendants can face up to three years in jail if convicted, according to Raabe.