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Central Basin GM Kevin Hunt Conspired With Convicted Felon Albert T. (“Big Al”) Robles During Kickback Scheme

 

CB GM Kevin Hunt was named in a civil suit.

By Brian Hews

A Hews Media Group-Community News investigation has found that Central Basin Municipal Water District (CB) General Manager Kevin Hunt was named in a 2006 civil complaint accused of scheming with convicted felon Albert T. (“Big Al”) Robles in illegally altering a contract so Hunt’s company Psomas Engineering could win a lucrative $2.3 million project from the city of South Gate and Robles could get massive kickbacks to funnel to himself and relatives.

In a settlement agreement forged just months later in 2007, and obtained exclusively by HMG-CN, Psomas paid an eye-popping $875,000 to settle with South Gate.

 

Signed settlement agreement, click on image to view agreement.

 

 

Psomas General Counsel Debra Lambeck, when contacted by HMG-CN, was not pleased that HMG-CN had a copy of the settlement agreement saying, “how did you get that, that’s really odd that you have that.”

The civil case was filed in October 2006 by the Los Angeles based law firm of Adorno, Yoss, Alvarado, and Smith, after Robles and his accomplices were found guilty by federal prosecutors in July 2005, each sentenced to ten years in prison.

The revelation could lead to the removal of the controversial GM who has recently engineered a takeover of the CB Board using questionable appointees, while allying himself with embattled Director Leticia Vasquez and President Bob Apodaca, who cost CB $670,000 to settle a sexual harassment complaint.

 

OP/ED: Central Basin Division Four Director Leticia Vasquez’ Trail of Corruption

 

Documents Confirm Central Basin Water Director Apodaca’s Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Settled for $670,000

 

 

 

The 20-page complaint cited several violations of federal and state contract law including fraud and deceit, breach of fiduciary duty, breach of contract, and unjust enrichment.

 

 

 

Click on image to see parts of the civil complaint.

 

 

The complaint blasted Hunt and Psomas saying they, “entered into a scam to deprive Southgate of honest services, made false statements and representations to Southgate intended to deceive the city, bribed a public official and otherwise engaged in fraud, deceit, and other illegal activities.”

 

 

Part of the civil lawsuit stating, “Robles and Psomas, through Kevin Hunt, Principle in charge for Psomas, entered into a scheme to deprive South Gate.” Click on image to view larger document.

 

 

There were four main parts of the scheme, all designed to get Robles his kickbacks, with Hunt his willing accomplice.

 

Hunt, according to the complaint, was responsible for:

1. Illegally altering the initial contract with Southgate
2. Misleading City officials during a special presentation
3. Executing illegal subcontracts
4. Checks made out to Robles’ cronies for later kickbacks.

 

1) The Beginning-Illegally Altering the Contract-

 

The scheme started in 2001 when Robles first enlisted Edward Espinosa and Angel Gonzalez to be the front men for his kickback plans.

Gonzalez, owner of Pyramid Press, was the longtime East Los Angeles political operative and convicted felon who plead down to a misdemeanor in 2001.

Gonzalez was involved with Ric Mayer, who was convicted on seven counts of felony electoral fraud in 2001 for lying about his place of residence to qualify for the South Gate ballot.

Espinoza was a New Jersey based financial consultant who marketed himself as a “political consultant and lobbyist.”

Robles, Espinoza, and Gonzalez created two shadow companies to receive money and funnel kickbacks to Robles; Espinoza’s was called EM Ventures, while Gonzalez’ was called Zoom Media.

Both listed themselves as “consultants” of their respective companies.

With the sham companies set-up, Robles ordered South Gate officials to publish a Request for Proposal for “Sewer Repair Program Management, Design and Construction Services.”

Hunt, who was a “Principal” of Psomas at the time and possessed complete negotiating and signing powers for the company, submitted his first bid for the project.

It is unknown if any other bids were submitted, but after Hunt submitted Psomas’ bid, Robles immediately began interacting with Hunt.

The complaint stated, “Hunt subsequently met on several occasions with Robles and Espinoza.”

Robles “directed Hunt to add two ‘options’ to the first original bid related to the procurement of federal and state grants and loans, as well as a community outreach provision.”

Espinoza would be tied to the grants option monies while Gonzalez would be the recipient of the community outreach monies.

Robles subsequently told Hunt that if “you wanted the sewer contract you must include Espinoza and Gonzalez as consultants.”

 

 

Hunt consented, without registering a formal objection, and included Espinoza and Gonzalez in Psomas sewer contract.

At this point Hunt became a willing partner in Robles’ scheme.

It was later proved that monies from the contract would be funneled to Espinoza’s company EM Ventures, and Gonzalez company, Zoom Media, ultimately meant for kickbacks to Robles, while also paying for a massive direct mail campaign, directed by Gonzalez and Pyramid Press, to fight a recall movement against Robles.

 

2) Lied to City Officials During Presentation-

 

In December 2001, Hunt made a “special presentation” of his first original bid to the South Gate Utility Authority (SGUA) during a special meeting.

Prior to that meeting, Hunt was told by Robles not to mention to the members of the SGUA during the presentation that Espinoza and Gonzalez were included as consultants in the contract.

According to the complaint, Hunt once again capitulated to Robles’ demands and purposely omitted Espinoza and Gonzalez from the entire presentation.

The next day Robles approved the $2.3 million contract.

 

3) Executed Bogus Subcontracts-

 

Hunt then submitted to Espinoza and Gonzalez “standard form subcontracts” used by Psomas in all their deals.

Espinoza and Gonzalez “became very angry” and refused to sign the Psomas subcontracts insisting that Hunt use their personal subcontracts.

Hunt asked Robles to intervene but Robles told Hunt to sign the contracts prepared by Espinoza and Gonzalez.

Hunt signed the subcontracts “in violation of Psomas’ own internal policy.”

Immediately after that, Hunt met with Robles to finalize the negotiations, with Robles asking Hunt to have Psomas ask the SGUA for the entire $2.3 million up front.

Hunt balked, but then told Robles, “I will ask for 20% up front.”

 

4) Kickbacks Begin-

 

The complaint stated that between 2002-’03 monies began flowing from SGUA, to Psomas, to Espinoza and Gonzalez, and finally to Robles.

Espinoza and EM Ventures received $235,000 from Psomas “which money Psomas received from the city.”

Espinoza paid Robles $140,000 of that money.

Later Gonzalez and Zoom Media received $260,000 from Psomas “which money Psomas received from the city.”

A large part of that money was used to fight the recall election against Robles and three other City Council members.

 

Indictments and Convictions-

 

The kickback scheme did not last long; in November 2004 Espinoza and Robles were indicted for violations of various federal laws, including mail and wire fraud, money laundering, and theft and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds.

In April 2005 Espinoza pled guilty to mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and in aiding in assisting in the preparation of false tax returns.

In July 2005 Robles was convicted and found guilty of 30 counts of bribery, money laundering and depriving the electorate of his honest services.

According to the criminal trial transcripts obtained by HMG-CN, Hunt implicitly admitted guilt saying, “ that he would testify that Robles asked Psomas to hire Espinoza and Gonzalez as a condition of being awarded the city contract and to use the money received from the city to pay Espinoza and Gonzalez for “little or no work.”

Later, Southgate filed the civil action against Psomas, implicating they were a co-conspirator with Espinoza, Gonzalez, and Robles.

The complaint against Psomas, and by extension Hunt, settled just months later, with Psomas paying the city of South Gate $875,000.

HMG-CN called Psomas and talked to General Counsel Debra Lambeck about Southgate, Hunt, the civil complaint (obtained by HMG-CN) and the criminal trial.

Lambeck stated, “there was only a criminal trial and that was against Robles.”

HMG-CN then informed Lambeck it had possession of the fully executed settlement agreement, where Psomas paid the SGUA $875,000.

An angry Lambeck snapped back, “that’s odd that you have that, how did you get that?”

HMG-CN received all documents in the mail, unsolicited.

“Is that normally how you get documents? “That’s really strange, regardless,” Lambeck said, “I was only here a week during that time.”

When informed that her signature was on the document, she became angrier asking, “Do you have the press release that was included as Exhibit A of the settlement agreement?”

“The press release indicates that Psomas did nothing wrong, and the City was happy with their services,” snapped Lambeck.

She would not answer why Psomas paid SGUA $875,000, and Lambeck would not answer any questions about Hunt.

When contacted by HMG-CN Hunt, who was given all documents related to the case, denied involvement saying, “I am not aware of nor was I involved in the civil suit. I did not alter contracts nor mislead City officials.”

Yet documents included with the complaint contained Hunt’s signature.

Hunt concluded his brief comment, implying involvement as described in the civil complaint saying, “I testified for the prosecution in the Albert Robles criminal trial, working with the FBI.”

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia told HMG-CN, “I remain committed to my community and welcome effective transparency in all government business conducted on behalf of its citizens, should further actions be required of my position to ensure transparency and efficiency in the community I represent, I will not hesitate.”
 

Document altering Psomas contract signed by Kevin Hunt.

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5 Responses to Central Basin GM Kevin Hunt Conspired With Convicted Felon Albert T. (“Big Al”) Robles During Kickback Scheme

  1. Ginger Johnson Reply

    March 22, 2017 at 9:10 am

    I was wondering why Hunt got away from S.G. so easily with our excellent City Atty. on the case. Looks like he had to pay up after all. What is worse with all this Corruption going on in the Central Water Basin is we have lost to a few votes our Very Fine Councilmember Bill DeWitt in South Gate who always kept us up on the latest water shenanigans and spread the word to powers that be when he saw things weren’t legal. Voters need to study people and issues before voting instead of closing their eyes and jabbing dots willy nilly. Until voters actually learn about the candidates and stop listening to their power talks the corruption will continue. We lucked out in S.G. in 2003 but now it seems history is on the road to repeating itself.

  2. Politics Sucks Reply

    March 20, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    Central Basin should have been taken over by the county when Knabe was on the Board of Sups. He understood the problem. He couldn’t make it happen because Central Basin and it’s surrounding legislators are all democrats. Now the mess is Cristina Garcia’s and she’s as useless as a three dollar bill!. Stupid voters and crooked politicians go hand and hand and there’s more than enough of BOTH to go around!

  3. Frustrated Constituant Reply

    March 20, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    Here is an idea. The State Legislature should come in and implode Central Basin Municipal Water District. Irregardless of Assembly Member Garcia’s bill, things will never be legit at Central Basin. It is embarrassing to read about the continuing saga of Central Basin and the incompetent individuals who have been elected to look out for our best interests, but in the end only look out for their own.

  4. A Simple Minded Person Reply

    March 20, 2017 at 5:28 pm

    Hats off to Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia for ensuring another criminal controls Central Basin. Garcia’s need for glory & headline now places Hunt in an untouchable position.

    Has anyone else noticed that ACWA still hasn’t agreed to insure Central Basin. Geez, I would thought this magnificent legislation by Garcia would have brought ACWA running back. Hell NO! They now see that Central Basin is a bigger mess than ever with three new Directors creating even more conflicts of interests. Plus, six out eight of these dumbass Directors were actually clueless enough to bring back a serial sexual harasser like Bob Apodaca as President?? WTH?? I thought stupid left when James Roybal quit??

    Bottom line, Cristina Garcia needs to stick to bloody tampons!

  5. Cerritos Island Water Rites Reply

    March 20, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    CERRITOS ISLANDS

    Cerritos Ret. Mayor Grace Hu and Lauara Lee, both promised us, they would being water to the Cerritos Islands, this is the areas, east of the Los Coyotes Flood Control, which is serviced by OC Water and not Central basin. Hu and Lee did nothing, just more political lies, lies. Grace Hu # importance is her Rolls Royce and advertising for ABCUSD:” Whitney HS.

    [email protected]

    Phil Hawkins, you live in & represent the city of Cerritos . 300 homes in Cerritos Island section, are affected with your non corrected water department boundaries. Why not correct this so we can vote on Water Department issues , we need to be connected with Orange County Water, we are not connected to Cerritos or your agencies water connection. We’ve contacted you many times over the past 40 years you continuously ignore us. Consequently, we live in Cerritos, but pay 2.5 x more for water, compared to Cerritos Residents. PHIL you care more about driving your $50K Corvette, then servicing the city.

    Is this being a very good politician, representing only some of the people and not all of the people in your district?
    Your agency donated horticulture to Cerritos El Rancho Verdes Park, which is in Cerritos, but everything east of the Los Coyotes Flood Control are serviced by OC Water Department. This said park has no ties to your water board agency, except by name only.
    You have been a life long politician, why don’t you come forward and aid your district.

    www.loscerritosnews.net/2017/01/23/central-basin-municipal-water-elects-phil-hawkins-president-pedro-aceituno-vice-president/

    Cerritos Candidate Sally Havice, has been the only candidate running for council, which has come forward and will investigate Cerritos Island water, none of the other 6 candidates for Cerritos council 2017 have done squat.

    [email protected];

    [email protected];

    [email protected];

    [email protected];

    [email protected];

    [email protected];

    [email protected]

    [email protected]

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