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LA County Grand Jury Requested To Investigate Central Basin Water President James Roybal

By Brian Hews  (3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5, 2013)

The Central Basin Municipal Water District Ethics Committee has voted to ask the Los Angeles County Grand Jury to investigate Director James Roybal’s involvement in leaking confidential documents to reporter Mike Sprague who works for the Whittier Daily News.

The vote for the review was made by Central Basin Water Board Directors Phil Hawkins of Cerritos and Art Chacon of Commerce.

Hews Media Group-Community News received a copy of a response letter written by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey that confirmed that Central Basin Municipal Water District Board President Roybal leaked a confidential internal document to the Whittier Daily News pertaining to a closed session discussion about former Interim Chief Operating Officer Chuck Fuentes.

See letter here.

The letter was in response to a complaint sent to the DA that alleged improper disclosure of confidential information approved in a closed session, which is a violation of Government Code Section 54956.9.

The letter stated, “based upon a June 3 (2013) memorandum from (CBMWD GM) Tony Perez, it would appear the details of the agreement disclosed to the WDN were subject to confidentiality clause and were not to be released.” Fuentes was fired from the agency in December by a new voting Board majority that consists of Director Leticia Vasquez, Director Robert Apodaca and Roybal.

In the letter, the District Attorney declined to take action on the disclosure, referring the matter back to the embroiled agency that has been a focal point of a massive investigation by members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the past several months.

The District Attorney cited the California Government Code 54963 that states “violations can result in disciplinary action against the employee who willfully disclosed confidential information and/or referral of the member to the grand jury.”

HMG-CN first reported on the situation back on August 6th.


  • Jason Herrera says:

    This Roybal ass is a real scumbag. I watched a meeting online recently and this guy obviously has a Napoleon Complex. I have never seen a jackass so full of himself. What a disgrace he is. I hope the Grand Jury does the right thing and put this dog down.

  • Concerned Citizen says:

    All these clowns on the Water District board are connected to Calderon or Mendoza, two more corrupt clowns. Can we get all these career politicians out of office already? Sick of it!

  • Hector Reyes says:

    What a bunch of thugs. Southeast LA Politicians stink, it’s time to clean house. Get out your brooms voters!

  • Lee Irvin says:

    Easy Jason, I love Dogs so please don’t put these low life’s in the same category. I agree it’s time to clean house of all these punks. Started with Compton, then Bell, Vernon, Commerce, Industry, Compton again and now these free loaders at the water district. I hope you guys keep on their ASS! All of em need to go!

    • Wayne Carter Ser says:

      You’re absolutely correct Mr. Irvin, dogs are more honorable than this James Roybal character. I understand that he is a veteran who served in Vietnam and that he is an educator with two Master’s Degrees (I’ve read his pathetic, gloating campaign dribble). However, his action as a representative of the Central Basin Water District are that of a self-serving, self-absorbed, corrupt politician who is intent on cashing in on his newfound importance, or self-importance. These points have all be marvelously described in this newspaper since January of this year when Roybal was sworn in.

      This man’s actions are highly suspect, beginning with his role in forming a voting bloc with his fellow newly elected collegue, former recalled Lynwood Councilwoman Leticia Vasquez, and with Bob Apodaca, whom I regret to view as horribly unfit for elected office. The first official actions taken by these three were to re-write the Administrative Code to allow the method of selecting the President to change to suit their greed and manipulation. Sure enough, Roybal became President and Apodaca Vice President.

      Then, they proceeded to terminate Chuck Fuentes and Ron Beilke who were highly qualified to uncover all the dirty deeds that have since been unearthed by this newspaper and others (most likely with the assistance of both Fuentes and Beilke), thus placing in full view their intent to cover-up the sins of their generous campaign supporters.

      Of course, if anyone would seek to challenge my honest assessment, simply attempt to justify the firing of Fuentes and Beilke while quietly continuing to stash Gil Cedillo Jr. in a nice, quiet corner office equipped with a computer, cell phone and company credit card? Without a doubt, there would be no logic to this except that Roybal, Vasquez and Apodaca had an agenda and that Cedillo Jr. (and Dave Hill) were part of it and Fuentes and Beilke we not! I look forward to someone trying to refute this theory.

      Great job editors and reporters of the Los Cerritos News. We need more papers like your to keep the corrupt politicians on their toes.

  • gilman says:

    I have a question for everyone – what gives the Ethics committee the authority to take any action? The committee is an advisory committee of the entire board and is charged with making recommendations for the entire board to act upon. No authority exists which gives them unilateral authority to direct staff, enter into contracts or expend public funds, etc., without first having the entire board vote upon the recommended action.

    Regardless of what you think of Roybal (and I am no fan) the facts suggest that he did not violate the Brown Act – a settlement agreement is a public record.

    • Harvey Levin says:

      Obviously you have not examined Central Basin’s Administrative Code. The simple reason the Ethics Committee does have broad powers is because by it’s very nature, the committee investigates allegations amongst it’s own. In other words, an investigation into suspected acts by a Board Member cannot be thwarted because the Board as a whole cannot attain a majority vote. Obviously in this case, if recommended actions went to the entire Board, Roybal would be conflicted out. So what would happen with a 2-2 tie, which would be very possible given that Roybal, Apodaca and Vasquez initially formed the majority on the Board which changed the Adm. Code within the first week of being sworn-in back in January for the express purpose of rewriting the process of selecting a President. Not a very credible bunch if you asked me.

      Interesting (and ironically) enough, it was that idiot Roybal who appointed Hawkins and Chacon to the Ethics Committee because the fool thought it was a do-nothing committee and because he was trying to make the committee selection process look fair. What a chump!

      Furthermore Gilman, about the settlement being a public record, well let’s play devil’s advocate here for a minute. What if Fuentes ran to the press immediately after signing that “confidential” settlement agreement and gave an interview that went something like this: “Boy, that Roybal is a real buffoon and he’s such a moron that simply because he refused to pay me what my contract called for in the first place, Central Basin had to pay me $50,000 instead of the $13,000 I was initially owed. Man, that Roybal is the biggest idiot I’ve ever met…”

      Well Gilman, my guess would have been that Central Basin would have called out their platoon of lawyers with marching orders to SUE FUENTES’ ASS OFF!!. Oh I could just hear Roybal’s drunken temper tantrum now. Central Basin would have had Fuentes ass in court screaming “uncle” in the time it would have taken Roybal to stop at 7-11 for his nightly 12pk! Now do you understand the reason BOTH parties signed a confidentiality agreement?

      You did a weak job of trying not to sound like a “fan” of Roybal, but it’s obvious where you stand. Either that or you possess the logical deduction ability of a two-year old. I hope Roybal is prosecuted and Fuentes PERSONALLY sues and hold Roybal liable for damages. There is no way Central Basin should pay top represent Roybal personally. That clown has no business in politics and as far as I’m concerned, he’s barely qualified to teach special ed students. BARELY!

      • gilman says:

        Unfortunately your assertions have no basis in law. The Ethics Committee, is advisory and lacks the authority to take action on behalf of the District without approval of the full Board.
        As for the confidentiality portion of the settlement, a settlement agreement executed by a public agency is a PUBLIC RECORD!
        As for Roybal, again I am no fan.

      • gilman says:

        For guidance you might want to read an agenda for an Ethics Committee meeting….you know, the part that states “In order to preserve the function of the committee as advisory to the Board…”

      • gilman says:

        Oh and that part about a settlement agreement not being a public record….take a read of the Court of Appeals decision in the Register Div. of Freedom Newspapers v County of Orange. The part where the court states “Assurances of confidentiality are insufficient in themselves to justify withholding pertinent public information from the public” should help clarify for you that the settlement is a public record!

  • Wayne Carter Sr. says:

    Mr. Levin makes a great point. Had the circumstances been reversed and had Mr. Fuentes launched unflattering comments towards Mr. Roybal in the press, I am certain Mr. Roybal would have used his majority-strength to enforce the confidential agreement that the parties had entered into. Such use of muscle would have overwhelmed Mr. Fuentes and undoubtedly ruined any future chance of employment in government, and rightfully so I might add. So the same must be said about Mr.Roybal.

    Mr.Gilman, I would hope that you would respond to the arguments that Mr. Levin made. The bottom line is that Mr. Fuentes showed that he was the “professional” here while Mr. Roybal displayed behavior that has been consistent with much of his actions thus far as an elected official. Without hesitation, I have drawn the conclusion that Mr. Roybal’s actions, especially the unwarranted firing of Mr. Fuentes and Mr. Beilke was in fact, an effort to thwart scruntiny into much of the illegal actions that the FBI are now investigating.

    I invite everyone to join me in seeking the resignation of James Roybal based on his incompetence and tendency to display a willingness to partake in less than ethical activities.