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OP/ED: Central Basin’s Apodaca, Roybal, and Vasquez Inexplicably Vote to Settle Former GM’s Lawsuit

By Brian Hews

 

“Logic is the art of going wrong with confidence.”- Joseph Wuld Krutch

Given the voluminous amount of stories Hews Media Group-Community News has published in print and online about Central Basin Municipal Water District’s (CB) President Bob Apodaca and Director’s Leticia Vasquez and James Roybal (the Roybal Three), it seems as if the Roybal Three are a very confident bunch.

With Vasquez a party plaintiff to a Qui Tam-whistleblower lawsuit filed against the very agency she was elected to serve and under investigation by the Fair Political Practices Act, Roybal attending CB meetings and drawing a check while he was in LAUSD infamous ‘teacher jail,’ a violation of LAUSD policy, and Apodaca’s sexual escapades costing CB $670,000 in a harassment lawsuit, they are, to this day, still confident in their actions.

But the latest act by the Roybal Three, a closed session vote to settle former GM Tony Perez’ wrongful termination lawsuit,  defies all logic.

History

Back in October 2014, the three voted to fire Perez ‘for cause’ indicating misconduct on the part of Perez.

Immediately after his firing, they voted to hire the Los Angeles based law firm of Tafoya and Garcia (TG) for $100,000, paying the firm an immediate $20,000 retainer to ‘investigate’ Perez.

Director’s Art Chacon and Phil Hawkins slammed the vote and walked out of the CB board room.

The questionable TG investigation was conducted five months before Perez filed his lawsuit.

HMG-CN conducted an investigation of the billings of TG-and the investigators they were using-and found they billed $90,000 in less than 35 days, with David Garcia and another attorney frequently working 13-hour days, each billing $350 per hour.

In addition, TG investigators who arrived at 9 a.m., logged 15 hours per day working at CB, often working past midnight.

Interestingly, all CB employees leave at 5 p.m.

After the story published, HMG-CN obtained documents that showed TG billed the city of Lynnwood $175 per hour, half as much as CB.

Then last week at Perez’ worker’s compensation hearing, the Commissioner-judge, according to sources, soundly rebuked TG and essentially their $100,000 investigation.

The judge told TG that their investigation was ‘after the fact,’ that they could be ‘manufacturing information,’ and that the judge would only speak to the CB representative that was at the hearing.

Imagine that, spending over $100,000 on an investigation that could not pass a worker’s compensation hearing.

The word kickback comes to mind here.

In a closed session meeting this week, one of the items discussed was former CB General Manager Tony Perez’ $8 million dollar wrongful termination lawsuit that was first reported in this newspaper.

The Roybal Three, in a move that can only be called completely irrational, voted to tender the Perez termination lawsuit to CB’s insurance company in an attempt to settle.

Logical, the Roybal Three want to settle with someone they voted to fire for misconduct in October 2014.

And this after they spent over $100,000 to investigate the alleged misconduct.

The insurance company’s maximum exposure is $2 million. After they pay, they are released from any future liability.

Given the lawsuit is for $8 million, I think they will settle.

Now Perez can take the $2 million, go after CB for the remainder, or settle.

Given the lawsuit is now for $6 million, I think the Roybal Three would settle and pay Perez.

And who cares?

Certainly not the Roybal Three, it is not their money they are giving Perez.

So let’s recap the logic.

It is well known that Pacifica Services, Inc. CEO Ernie Camacho wanted Perez fired for questioning Pacifica’s no-bid contracts that amounted to over $5 million.

The Roybal Three, who owe everything to Camacho, subsequently found a way to fire Perez in October 2014 ‘for cause,’ with all observers saying it was clearly wrongful termination.

Then the Roybal Three hired a bogus law firm, spent over $100,000 to investigate Perez on the assumption he would file a wrongful termination lawsuit, and the bogus law firm cannot even win a worker’s compensation hearing based on the evidence they acquired.

Seeing this outcome, the Roybal Three vote to settle with Perez for $2 million, exposing CB to a $6 million settlement.

Mark Twain once said, “To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”

Seems like the Roybal Three have both in this case, only their aim is not success.

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