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By Brian Hews
In another desperate move to seize control of Central Basin Municipal Water District, the “Roybal Three,” consisting of CB Board Directors James Roybal, Leticia Vasquez, and Robert “Bob” Apodaca have placed on next Wednesday’s meeting agenda a motion to fire CB General Manager Tony Perez.
Since Vasquez and Roybal won seats on the CB Board in 2012, with their campaigns financed by convicted felon Rick Mayer, and felon plead down to a misdemeanor Angel Gonzales, the Commerce agency has been embroiled in scandal after scandal.
According to recently filed 460’s Campaign Finance Forms, Rick Mayer “forgave” a large amount of Roybal’s campaign debt.
Roybal, who was sentenced to LAUSD “teacher jail,” recently resigned from teaching. He also was paid over $25,000 while attending meetings at CB, in violation of LAUSD teacher policy, and is under investigation by the Office of Inspector General at the LAUSD. His pension could be in danger, according to a source at LAUSD.
Apodaca recently cost the District $670,000 in a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Sigrid Lopez, who only worked for the agency for six months. Lopez told the court that Apodaca harassed her almost every day, and bragged how they “tagged team” woman at conferences.
Vasquez is a “party plaintiff” to a whistleblower lawsuit that has cost the district over $100,000, a case observers say will most certainly be dismissed. That dismissal could cause several companies to sue CB for defamation, costing CB even more money, possibly into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Sources tell HMG-CN that Vasquez also leaked an F.B.I. subpoena to Whittier Daily News reporter Mike Sprague.
Meanwhile, in stark contrast to the possible reasons for firing Perez, GM Perez has succeeded in hiring capable and professional management, reversing the poor business practices of the previous administration, and turning around a culture of corruption.
Under Perez’ direction, CB has improved its financial outlook, implemented sound and transparent business practices, resolved long-standing litigation, and most importantly increased water sales.
This “vote” will take place just two months after Perez made the biggest water sale in the history of CB, netting the agency over $4 million.
And the vote comes with less than two months before a critical election, which has two seats up for grabs, Apodaca’s and Art Chacon.
Most election observers are saying that Apodaca will lose his seat to challenger Tom Malkasian, and with an Art Chacon win, Vasquez would lose her grip on the CB Board and be in the minority for the remainder of her term.
Said one source inside CB, “this is Vasquez leading the charge to fire Tony, she has never wanted him at the position. If she is successful, Knabe and his team will come in and close this place down.”
Knabe is Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe who is the current Chairman of the Board of the LA County Supervisors.
Interestingly, CB has recently submitted its recovery plan to the LA County Board of Supervisors. Given this vote, and after numerous down-grades of its bond ratings, ongoing efforts to restructure current bonds could prove impossible.
This would cause the agency to become insolvent and terminate 75% of its staff.
“This is a last ditch effort to get a majority on the CB Board for Vasquez and her crew, and for Vasquez to vote on her multi-million dollar whistleblower lawsuit that she filed, which would net her over $2 million. If Vasquez does not get what she wants, she does not care what happens to the agency,” said a CB employee who did not want to be identified.
Sources are telling HMG-CN that the Roybal Three will use either the $16,000 accident payment to Art Chacon that Perez approved on his own authority, or accuse Perez of “mismanaging” the Pacifica lawsuit as a reason for his dismissal.
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