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By Brian Hews
In a stunning vote, the members of the Water Replenishment Board approved in closed session to pay for Director Albert “Lil Al” Robles’ attorney’s fees in defense of the incompatible lawsuit approved by California Attorney General Kamela Harris and filed by Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
The Lakewood-based water agency will hire “special counsel” to represent Robles.
Sources are telling HMG CN that Robles himself voted for the expenses, violating conflict of interest laws.
His vote came under vehement protest of WRD’s General Counsel Francisco Leal of Leal-Trejo.
The anticipated attorneys fees and legal battle stem from a resident filing an incompatible office complaint because Robles serves both on the WRD Board and as the city of Carson’s mayor.
The complaint brought a “Quo Warranto” action which is reviewed by California Attorney General Kamela Harris.
Quo warranto is a special form of legal action used to resolve a dispute over whether a specific person has the legal right to hold the public office that he or she occupies.
Quo warranto is used to test a person’s legal right to hold an office, not to evaluate the person’s performance in the office. For example, a quo warranto action may be brought to determine whether a public official satisfies a requirement that he or she resides in the district; or whether a public official is serving in two incompatible offices.
The action was “approved” which triggered the filing of the lawsuit by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
Under that law, if Robles loses the lawsuit, he would have to give up the last seat he was elected to, which would be Carson mayor.
A former ex-employee of the WRD told HMG-CN, “That shouldn’t be the District’s expense! I understand that Albert voted to approve the expense as well which is completely illegal and once again a conflict of interest. I’m hearing legal counsel did what he could to stop the vote and the General Manager did nothing as usual. WRD has become the place where you save your butt by kissing Lil Albert’s…starting with the GM Robb Whitaker.”
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