Tom Selleck settles water theft lawsuit in California

Tom Selleck, who was accused of stealing water for his California ranch, has settled a lawsuit, by paying the water district close to $22,000.

Actor agrees to pay almost $22K to Californian water district

Actor Tom Selleck has settled a water theft lawsuit in California for $21,000. (Carlo Allegri/ Associated Press)

Magnum, P.I. star Tom Selleck has agreed to pay the nearly $22,000 bill of a private investigator hired by a California agency in a probe that revealed truckloads of water were being illegally diverted to the actor's ranch during an ongoing drought, officials said.

Officials from the Calleguas Municipal Water District filed a legal complaint against Selleck on July 6, which said a hydrant in their district was tapped to supply his ranch, which is located in a nearby jurisdiction.

A legal settlement between Selleck and the Calleguas district, which was formally approved on Wednesday by directors of the agency, will prevent Selleck from drawing water from the district for use on his ranch in the Hidden Valley area northwest of Los Angeles.

Selleck, who is most famous for playing a Hawaii private investigator in the 1980s television show Magnum, P.I., has agreed to pay the district's nearly $22,000 bill to hire a private investigator, officials said.

The district determined that several times from 2013 to 2015 a water-tender truck filled from a hydrant within the Calleguas district and delivered that water to Selleck's ranch, according to the legal complaint.

Dispute came to light during drought

The dispute came to light as California endures a devastating four-year drought that has led to mandatory water cutbacks on cities and towns.

"Mr. Selleck previously paid for all the water that he utilized, which the Calleguas Municipal Water District acknowledged had not been stolen," said Marty Singer, an attorney for Selleck, in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. Singer did not return a call or email.

The metered hydrant was in Thousand Oaks, which is part of the Calleguas water district, and was installed for use at a construction site, said the city's public works director, Jay Spurgin.

A construction company paid for the water, but city officials do not know whether some of it was diverted out of the district, Spurgin said.

It was unclear if Selleck might have paid the construction company for use of the water, but Calleguas water district general manager Susan Mulligan said in a statement that whether or not he did was irrelevant.

"No one has a legal right to district water by simply paying a rate to another water user based on the volume of water questionably obtained," Mulligan said.

Selleck now stars on the CBS police drama Blue Bloods.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.