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Wednesday February 5, 2014, 9:30 pm
By Randy Economy and Brian Hews
Controversial Central Basin Municipal Water District President James Roybal will be removed as President of the five member governing board on Friday during a special meeting that was announced online Wednesday HMG-CN has learned.
Roybal has been under intense scrutiny by HMG-CN for the past year with Publisher Brian Hews calling for his resignation in an Editorial several weeks ago.
HMG-CN reported that Roybal, who was elected in 2012, had been enrolled in the controversial program known as “Teacher Jail” by his employer the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Roybal has yet to publicly comment about his participation in “Teacher Jail” publicly.
Roybal is currently under investigation by several agencies including the LAUSD who last week issued a subpoena to Brian Hews, Publisher and Owner of Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper after the publication printed specific documents and details documenting Roybal’s participation in Teacher Jail.
Hews confirmed that he has turned over documents to LAUSD Investigators last week regarding in regards to the subpoena request, but would not disclose the contents of their contents.
The meeting is slated to begin at 1 p.m. on Friday.
Sources also tell HMG-CN that Director Phil Hawkins, a former Assemblyman from Cerritos will be chosen as the new President of the Central Basin Municipal Water Board of Directors to replace Roybal.
With the latest revelation by HMG-CN that Central Basin Municipal Water President James Roybal has been sentenced to LAUSD ‘Teacher Jail,’ and then blatantly violated LAUSD policy by attending CBMWD committee meetings, Roybal has once again shown that he is not fit for the office of the president of CBMWD.
HMG-CN does not take this decision lightly, but given the overwhelming evidence of corruption, cover-up, and blatant disregard for authority Roybal has exhibited, it is an inevitable conclusion.
The reign started when Roybal, along with his ally, Director Leticia Vasquez, took office at the beginning of this year. By the first meeting Roybal and Vasquez disregarded Section 8 of the CBMWD Administrative Code and elected Roybal president, stripping Director Art Chacon of the position.
Later, in a blatantly vindictive maneuver, Roybal then removed Chacon and Director Phil Hawkins from all but one committee position, giving a majority to Vasquez, including Hawkins’ Metropolitan Water District seat.
It was the start of the Reign of Corruption led by Roybal.
Late 2012, Interim COO Chuck Fuentes and assistant to the General Manager Ron Beilke were getting a little too close for the Roybal and Vasquez. Fuentes and Beilke had noticed billing discrepancies and asked Pacifica, owned by the politically-connected Ernie Camacho, to give them detailed billings on their engineering services to CBMWD. Camacho reportedly took exception to the questioning and let the Roybal Three know about it.
In January of this year we reported that Roybal and Vasquez unexpectedly fired Fuentes and Beilke.
Later, our research revealed that the Roybal Three received over $50,000 in donations from Pacifica, Pacifica’s owner Ernie Camacho, and Camacho’s children.
Both Fuentes and Beilke are suing the CBMWD for wrongful termination.
In February, HMG-CN reported that Roybal and Vasquez received a substantial amount of money for their election campaigns from convicted felon Rick Meyer and accused felon who-plead-down-to-a-misdemeanor, Angel Gonzalez.
Later that month we reported that Roybal and Vasquez owed Mayer and Gonzales over $40,000 in campaign debts. As of this month, the debts remain owed.
At the end of February, based on all the reports, the LA District Attorney confirmed complaints filed against the Roybal and Vasquez.
By that time things were getting out of hand, so much so that Rick Mayer went over to Director Art Chacon’s house and threatened his life. We exclusively obtained the letter Mayer handed to Chacon and published in print and online.
In April, we exclusively reported the ‘pay to play’ culture at CBMWD catching Vasquez-with Roybal’s blessings-giving large contracts to a firm that Maurice Chenier worked for, her boyfriend/lawyer Ron Wilson’s long-time law partner, while also hiring her friend Jasmine Cannick and paying her $9,000.
In June, after newly hired GM Tony Perez started digging into Pacifica, similar to Fuentes and Beilke, Roybal and Vasquez attempted to fire Perez.
In August, we obtained a letter from the LA District Attorney that confirmed Roybal illegally leaked a confidential internal document to the Whittier Daily News and that the DA was investigating him and WDN reporter Mike Sprague. The leak pertained to a closed session discussion about former Interim COO Chuck Fuentes. The Ethic Committee referred the case to the LA County Civil Grand Jury.
In September, Roybal canceled the Ethics Committee investigation into Director Apodaca’s sexual harassment charges, ignoring the legal opinion provided by District Council Rick Olivarez. Roybal was accused of orchestrating an illegal cover-up. The ethics committee meeting was rescheduled.
Two weeks later Roybal canceled that meeting and in a memo wrote, “effective immediately I am canceling all future ethics committee meetings and installing myself and Apodaca as the new standing members of the committee.”
A week later, Roybal voted to eliminate the ethics committee altogether, with Vasquez leading the charge. Vasquez recommended giving investigative authority to GM Tony Perez knowing full well that he would never call for an investigation because the Roybal Three would fire him.
Finally, and what should be the last straw, we exclusively reported that Roybal was sent to LAUSD ‘Teacher Jail’ in March of this year while attending meetings at CBMWD and collecting over $25,000 in committee meeting fees-in direct violation of LAUSD policy.
The effects of Roybal’s antics will be felt for years at CBMWD. As president, he has directed corruption, coordinated cover-ups, attempted to pay off those who helped him get elected, and blatantly disregarded authority. Just a few weeks ago he voted to give Pacifica Engineering, who is suing CBMWD, and whom CBMWD is counter-suing, over $400,000 for ‘services rendered.’
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