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Additional Conflicts of Interest Surface Between Appointed Central Basin Water Directors Arrighi, Oskoui and Former GM Hunt

BY BRIAN HEWS • July 20, 2020

The city of Downey, incorporated in 1956, has several areas with million dollar homes on 10,000+ square-foot lots.

With the plethora of amenities inside its boundaries,  its own police and fire departments, and central location, many choose to move into Downey every year.

That is except for long-time Downey Assistant City Manager and appointed Central Basin Municipal Water Director Joshuana “John” Oskoui.

Oskoui has lived in Rancho Santa Margarita for years, enduring an over 80 mile round-trip commute to Downey every day.

Then in late 2018, Oskoui purchased a $1.599 million home in San Juan Capistrano, within site of the Pacific Ocean, paying a huge cash down payment and financing the remainder, according to title documents.

The home is nearly twice the size of his former house and added an additional 15 miles to Oskoui’s commute.

 

 

A model home in Ocean Hills where Oskoui bought his home.

 

 

Toll Brothers and Montebello Hills

In December 2019, Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers broke ground on a new master-planned community in Montebello, Montebello Hills,  that will feature over 1,200 luxury homes, a 10,000 sq. ft. resort-style recreation center, and a nearly six acre park.

There are reports that most of the homes will sell for well over $1 million.

Since early 2017, the Toll Brothers knew they were going to need recycled water so they asked for a proposal from Central Basin to construct a recycled water pipe and pump station to supply water to the development during and after construction.

In the proposal, a pipe would feed off of Central Basin’s current recycled water distribution system on Lincoln Ave., travel up N. Montebello Blvd to a pump station, with additional piping going to the entire site, including a reservoir.

The January 2019 proposal was separated into two parts; Part One was a pipe from Lincoln to the pump station; Part Two was the pump station, the additional water pipes to the development site, and the reservoir.

According to the presentation, Part One cost over $725,000 while Part Two cost $1.15 million.

 

Graphic description of the recycled water proposal.

 

 

 

Given that Central Basin had the existing recycled water distribution system, the agency was in the driver’s seat when it came to negotiating funding for the system, Toll Brothers was in no position to demand anything.

But when the project was first presented, former Central Basin GM Kevin Hunt went against the orders of Central Basin’s Engineering Committee and proposed that the Commerce-based water agency pay for Part One, with ratepayers footing the $725,000 cost.

 

 

Cost matrix by former GM Kevin Hunt showing an unnecessary  $725,000 expense to Central Basin.

 

 

Some on the CB Board vehemently objected including current Chair Leticia Vasquez, Vice-Chair Art Chacon, Director Phil Hawkins, and newly elected Director Martha Camacho-Rodriguez.

Vasquez, Hawkins and Chacon were on the Engineering Committee.

The board members asked Hunt to refrain from re-considering the proposal until Toll Brothers paid for everything, but he insisted, and violated the Brown Act in doing so.

And the other directors helped him – Frank Heldman and Dan Arrighi – who have since resigned under a cloud of controversy – along with Bob Apodaca, and John Oskoui, allowed Hunt to bring back the proposal five times even though it was not on the board meeting agenda.

The proposal was finally approved; Central Basin still ended up paying nearly $75,000 for an Environmental Impact Report.

Arrighi Conflicted

The actions of Arrighi and Oskoui in regards to the recycled water debate were extremely questionable, some would say illegal.

They don’t fear voter outrage, both are unelected and do not live inside Central Basin boundaries, appointed under Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s AB-1794.

Sitting and waiting in the wings for the project to be approved was the San Gabriel Valley Water Company, which would supply potable water to Montebello Hills.

Arrighi, who recently resigned his director seat after an HMG article pointed out an incompatible office situation, is a vice-president with the San Gabriel Valley Water Company.

Since he has a financial interest in SGVW, under California Code and Fair Political Practices Commission Conflict of Interest Rules, Arrighi was required to recuse himself from any open meetings or closed session discussions of Montebello Hills.

Yet Arrighi participated in votes on the project and, according to sources, was in closed session meetings concerning Montebello Hills.

Attending closed session meetings would have armed Arrighi with confidential information that would be valuable to his boss Michael Whitehead, a known friend of Montebello City Councilman Jack Hadjinian, along with convicted felons Ron and Tom Calderon.

And only months after the recycled water debate began, SGVW purchased Montebello Water Company with a big assist from Councilman Hadjinian.

Only Vasquez, Chacon, Hawkins and Camacho-Rodriguez were complaining about Arrighi’s conflict, but Central Basin’s law firm at the time, Nossaman, LLC, was erroneously asserting that Arrighi was not conflicted.

When Olivarez-Madruga took over as the agency’s law firm, Principal Rick Olivarez saw the situation and immediately told all the board members that Arrighi was conflicted.

In a conversation later with HMG, Olivarez confirmed that he told the board Arrighi was conflicted, which is why at the final vote to approve the project Arrighi was “absent.”

Oskoui’s Massive Down Payment

The home that Oskoui purchased in October 2018, just months prior to the recycled water debate, is quite a gem.

Located inside the “Ocean Hills” part of the Pacifica San Juan Development, the home is 4,000 square feet boasting four bedrooms, five bathrooms, sitting on a 10,500 square-foot lot; it is 1,700 square feet larger than his former home, with a lot that is 2,500 square feet larger.

 

Title documents showing Oskoui’s home, parts were covered to keep sensitive information private.

 

 

 

Title documents show he purchased the house from Pacific Point Development Partners LLC, a Delaware Corporation registered out of a “corporation factory” office in Scottsdale, Arizona with an address of 4900 Scottsdale Rd., Suite 2000.

 

 

 

Secretary of State document showing Pacific Point registered in Delaware using the 4900 Scottsdale Rd., Arizona address.

 

A corporation factory is a one-person office where the lessee lists themselves as the agent for service, in essence the contact for the corporations, with hundreds or even thousands of people using the office as their corporate address and the lessee as their agent.

This type of registration keeps the actual address of the corporation private, and is often used by shell corporations.

Two other companies that are members of Pacific Point Development Partners LLC are also Delaware incorporated, the third, Oaktree Capital, is registered in the Cayman Islands.

Coincidentally, the selling agent , TM California Services, Inc. is registered at the same 4900 Scottsdale Rd. address.

 

 

 

Secretary of State document showing TM California services registered at the sale Scottsdale address as Pacific Point.

 

 

Oskoui paid $1.599 million for the home, and took out a first trust deed of $1.060 million indicating Oskoui paid a massive $539,000 in cash to purchase the house.

He also added another 15 miles to an already brutal I-5, SR-91, I-605 freeway commute.

 

 

Title documents showing Oskoui’s home purchase transaction.

 

 

HMG emailed Oskoui asking about the down payment, but he did not respond.

When she found out about Oskoui’s new home and the timing of the sale, Central Basin Chair Leticia Vasquez leveled some harsh accusations, “The [recycled water] proposal never made sense to me. I found it unusual that Oskoui would insist that Central Basin gift $1 million dollars of taxpayer money.”

“We were very frustrated with Hunt and that group of board members,” Central Basin Vice-President Art Chacon told HMG, “we kept telling Hunt not to bring the project back until Toll Brothers paid for everything, but he kept at it, and wanted us to pay for everything. At the time Nossaman was our law firm and they said it was OK that Arrighi sat in on the closed session meetings when we discussed the project. When [Rick] Olivarez came in, he immediately told Arrighi he was conflicted. None of us knew about Oskoui’s situation.”

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to Additional Conflicts of Interest Surface Between Appointed Central Basin Water Directors Arrighi, Oskoui and Former GM Hunt

  1. Waldon Reply

    July 20, 2020 at 4:32 pm

    Wow, another gem Brian. I hope people realize that Cristina Garcia Is the new Ron & Tom Calderon. She saw how easily it was to exploit Central Basin and to make it into her own personal piggy-bank just like the Calderon’s did.

    She created the opportunity to “appoint” board members instead of having voters actually “vote” for their representatives. She thus created her own minions.

    Can’t wait to see the next show fall. Hasn’t Bob Apodaca fondled or molested Caroline’s grandchildren yet. Oh yeah, Kara won’t let her kids near that creepy gross serial abuser.

  2. Errol Crones Reply

    July 20, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Wow!All theses people are are super crooks!!
    Ivote to hang every one of these cheating S.O.B.’s

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