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By Randy Economy and Brian Hews
Los Cerritos Community News has learned that recently sworn in Central Basin Municipal Water District Director Leticia Vasquez is the subject of numerous complaints filed last week with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, including one surrounding a campaign event held while a teacher at El Camino Compton Center.
LCCN also confirmed that numerous complaints were filed against fellow (Division One Director) James B. Roybal.
The Vasquez complaint alleges that she booked an event on December 6, 2012 at La Huesteca Restaurant in Lynwood as a fundraising event for the college, when in reality it was a fundraising event to pay for her successful water board campaign.
Vasquez did not report the fundraiser on her signed Campaign Statement Form 460. Under government code section 81000, signing false statements is a violation under penalty of perjury that carries heavy fines and prison terms.
The first event, on a document obtained by LCCN, outlines a “special event proposal” prepared by a representative of La Huesteca for Dec. 6. The proposal outlines all costs associated with the event.
The proposal also clearly states that the event was booked by Vasquez for the purpose of an El Camino College fundraiser. Vasquez lists herself and school email as the contact, and the type of event as “recaudacion de fondos” which means fundraiser.
However, LCCN has obtained another document describing an event on the same date (Dec. 6) at the same time (5:30pm-8pm) at the same restaurant (La Huesteca) to “Come Help Celebrate Leticia’s Election to the Water Board.”
According to several sources, the two and half hour event was well attended by several of Vasquez’ El Camino political science class students, with one seated at the door checking in guests and collecting donations.
Students in attendance confirmed that their appearance was mandatory for Ms. Vazquez’ class credit.
Those same sources told LCCN that all other people at the event were there “to pay for her water board campaign,” contradicting the calim that it was a college fundraiser party.
The complaints to the District Attorney come on the heels of two articles exposing former felon Ricardo “Rick” Mayer, and political consultant Angel Gonzalez as key figures responsible for getting Vasquez and Roybal elected.
Mayer and Gonzalez donated huge sums of money to Vasquez and Roybal.
An examination by LCCN of the California Form 460 Form F, which documents Accrued Expenses and Unpaid Bills, show that both Vasquez and Roybal now owe the two convicted figures more than $40,000.
Vasquez told state officials that she still owes Gonzalez at least $18,399 for campaign signs and mailing costs, more than eight months after being elected last June.
Roybal owes $22,878 to Mayer in expenses.
Los Cerritos Community Newspaper was told by several sources that both Mayer and Gonzalez could be rewarded for their connections with Vasquez and Roybal by being granted consulting contracts that could bring in hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.
Since taking office on January 7th, 2013, Roybal and Vasquez quickly joined ranks with long-time Director Bob Apodaca and created a new “voting bloc majority” at Central Basin.
Within one week of being sworn into office, the three fired Chief Operating Officer Chuck Fuentes, along with Assistant to General Manager Ron Beilke and Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman. They also ordered all contracts to be reviewed.
They also changed the Administrative Code and removed President Art Chacon from overseeing the Board just barely one week after he was seated for the position. Roybal is now serving as president of the five-member board.
They also immediately removed CBMWD Director and Cerritos resident Phil Hawkins from his long held seat on the board of the Metropolitan Water District. Hawkins served as chair of the important Real Estate and Asset Management Special Committee, angering LA County Supervisor Don Knabe.
“I’m very upset to see Phil removed from his MWD seat. Phil has been a tireless advocate for the Southeast area on water issues and his tenure means a great deal on such a large Board as the MWD. His experience as Chair of the Real Estate and Asset Management Committee will be missed,” Knabe said.
Roybal as president is now in a powerful position, responsible for forming committee, items that will be allowed on the agenda, and what contracts are vetted and reviewed before they come to a vote.
South Gate Councilman Henry Gonzalez, who is considered to be one of the most respected elected officials in Southeast Los Angeles County told LCCN in an interview on Monday that Vasquez is as “dirty as they come.”
“She was groomed by convicted felon and ex-Lynwood Mayor Paul Richards, she knows how to play dirty, and doesn’t care about rules. Leticia does what she wants,” the South Gate councilman said.
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