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Pacifica Services, Camacho Brothers Donated Thousands to Central Basin Director Apodaca

By Brian Hews

Documents obtained exclusively by Hews Media Group-Community News confirm that Pacifica Services, and its CEO Ernest Camacho, along with his well-connected brother Andy Camacho, poured over $53,000 into the political coffers of current and past elected Directors of the Central Basin Municipal Water District (CBMWD) during the past decade.

During this period, Pacifica Services was granted several multi-million dollar contract extensions by CBMWD officials, contracts that have now caught the attention of Federal investigators who are looking into the activities of the beleaguered agency.

This week, officials at the CBMWD cut ties with Pasadena based Pacifica Services on Monday just three days after HMG-CN revealed that the private company had made in excess of $5 million during the past six years.

Sources told LCCN that at least four contract employees with Pacifica Services were escorted out of the CBMWD headquarters on Washington Boulevard in Commerce on Monday by a private security detail.

The security detail could be seen carrying boxes of the four Pacifica Services employees “personal belongings” to their individual vehicles to a gated enclosed parking lot.

One inside source commented, “watching those do-nothings from Pacifica leave brought tears to our eyes today. Things are really beginning to change here and once again, why is it always as a result of the press, and not those elected officials? Those four from Pacifica made off with over $5000.00 every day they were in our office. They sat around their desks and did nothing.”

The donation documents go back as far as 2002 when the Committee to Elect Bob Apodaca was formed and show that in addition to the over $53,000 from Pacifica, Apodaca received $5,500 from TELACU, owned by the influential David Lizarraga, and $7,500 from Phil Pace, who owns a large amount of property in Montebello.

Pace is the owner of Pace Development located in Montebello, and is the landlord of California State Senator Ronald Calderon’s district office.  Calderon recently had his offices in the California State Capital in Sacramento raided by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The law firm of Sedgwick, Detert, Moran, & Arnold also gave $4,000 to Apodaca.

In the time between March 2009 and May 2011, Sedgwick billed CBMWD over $1.7 million in legal fees pertaining to the PEIR-Groundwater Study, billing over $610,000 the last two month of their work, which occurred in May and June of 2011.

HNG-CN requested the Sedgwick  billings via a public records request. When the documents were received, all explanations of the work that was done was redacted.

HMG-CN has attempted to obtain the billings without redaction but was rebuffed by CBMWD’s law firm Olivarez/Madruga.

In an email to HMG-CN, Victor Ponto, lawyer at the firm Olivarez/Madruga, said,  “there are instances where attorneys will conduct research, share impressions and convey advice that is privileged during the process of drafting public documents.  In those instances, the communications could/would be exempt from production under the attorney-client privilege, the work product doctrine and/or the deliberative process exemption.”

Pacifica Services and Ernie Camacho’s MLJ Properties also donated $5,000 each to Leticia Vasquez and James Roybal.

Sources told HMG-CN that Andy Camacho hosted a very lucrative fundraiser for Vasquez at his El Paseo Inn on Olvera Street. Vaquez did not report that on her 460 Campaign Statements. “She is attempting to hide her Pacifica connection, and the DA should be looking into that,” the source told HMG-CN.

In addition, Ron Calderon donated $1,500 in December of that same year, and Tom Calderon donated $750.

“The political cash that has poured into the bank accounts of elected Directors CBMWD for the past decade is just plain criminal when you stop and think about it,” said one longtime observer of the agency who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“This is ‘pay to play’ politics at its very worst,” the source said.


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