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OP-ED: Central Basin Municipal Water President James Roybal Must Resign

By HMG-CN Publisher Brian Hews

Central Basin Municipal Water District President James Roybal

Central Basin Municipal Water District President James Roybal

Break the rules go to jail, LAUSD Teacher Jail.

With the latest revelation by HMG-CN that Central Basin Municipal Water President James Roybal has been sentenced to LAUSD ‘Teacher Jail,’  and then blatantly violated LAUSD policy by attending CBMWD committee meetings, Roybal has once again shown that he is not fit for the office of the president of CBMWD and should resign immediately.

HMG-CN does not take this decision lightly, but given the overwhelming evidence of corruption, cover-up, and blatant disregard for authority Roybal has exhibited, it is an inevitable conclusion.

The reign started when Roybal, along with his ally, Director Leticia Vasquez, took office at the beginning of this year. By the first meeting Roybal, Vasquez and long-time friend Bob Apodaca disregarded Section 8 of the CBMWD  Administrative Code and elected Roybal president, stripping Director Art Chacon of the position.

Later, in a blatantly vindictive maneuver, Roybal then removed Chacon and Director Phil Hawkins from all but one committee position, giving a majority to Vasquez, including Hawkins’ Metropolitan Water District seat.

It was the start of the “Roybal Three’; the Roybal, Apodaca, and Vasquez Reign of Corruption led by Roybal.

Late 2012, Interim COO Chuck Fuentes  and assistant to the General Manager Ron Beilke were getting a little too close for the Roybal Three. Fuentes and Beilke had noticed billing discrepancies and asked Pacifica, owned by the politically-connected Ernie Camacho, to give them detailed billings on their engineering services to CBMWD. Camacho reportedly took exception to the questioning and let the  Roybal Three know about it.

In January of this year we reported the Roybal Three unexpectedly fired Fuentes and Beilke.

BREAKING: Chuck Fuentes Fired by Central Basin Water District Board During Special Session


Later, our research revealed that the Roybal Three received over $50,000 in donations from Pacifica, Pacifica’s owner Ernie Camacho, and Camacho’s children.

Both Fuentes and Beilke are suing the CBMWD for wrongful termination.

In February, HMG-CN reported that Roybal and Vasquez received a substantial amount of money for their election campaigns from convicted felon Rick Meyer and accused felon who-plead-down-to-a-misdemeanor, Angel Gonzalez.

DIRTY WATER: Central Basin Municipal Water Board Director Campaigns  Financed by Convicted Felon


Later that month we reported that Roybal and Vasquez owed Mayer and Gonzales over $40,000 in campaign debts. As of this month, the debts remain owed.

DIRTY WATER: Central Basin Directors Vasquez, Roybal Owes Campaign Cash to Convicted Political Figures


At the end of February, based on all the reports, the LA District Attorney confirmed complaints filed against the Roybal and Vasquez.

Dirty Water: DA Confirms Complaints Filed Against Central Basin Directors Vasquez and Roybal


By that time things were getting out of hand, so much so that Rick Mayer went over to Director Art Chacon’s house and threatened his life. We exclusively obtained the letter Mayer handed to Chacon and published in print and online.

Dirty Water: Directors Roybal and Vasquez Major Campaign Donor Rick Mayer Threatened Director Chacon’s Life


In April, we exclusively reported the ‘pay to play’ culture at CBMWD catching Vasquez-with Roybal’s blessings-giving large contracts to a firm that Maurice Chenier worked for, her boyfriend/lawyer Ron Wilson’s long-time law partner, while also hiring her friend Jasmine Cannick and paying her $9,000.

Dirty Water: ‘Pay to Play Culture’ Trickling Out At Central Basin


In June, after newly hired GM Tony Perez started digging into Pacifica, similar to Fuentes and Beilke, the Roybal three attempted to fire Perez.

Central Basin Water Directors Form Committee to ‘Evaluate’ Newly Hired General Manager


In August, we obtained a letter from the LA District Attorney that confirmed Roybal illegally leaked a confidential internal document to the Whittier Daily News and that the DA was investigating him and WDN reporter Mike Sprague. The leak  pertained to a closed session discussion about former Interim COO Chuck Fuentes. The Ethic Committee referred the case to the LA County Civil Grand Jury.

Central Basin Water Ethics Committee to Investigate Board President James Roybal


In September, Roybal canceled the Ethics Committee investigation into Director Apodaca’s sexual harassment charges, ignoring the legal opinion provided by District Council Rick Olivarez. Roybal was accused of orchestrating an illegal cover-up. The ethics committee meeting was rescheduled.

Central Basin President Roybal ‘Illegally’ Cancel Ethics Committee Meeting Centering on Director Apodaca


Two weeks later Roybal canceled that meeting and in a memo wrote, “effective immediately I am canceling all future ethics committee meetings and installing myself and Apodaca as the new standing members of the committee.”

Central Basin President Roybal Attempts to Cancel Ethics Meeting Hearing Allegations Against Director Apodaca


A week later, the Roybal Three voted to eliminate the ethics committee altogether, with Vasquez leading the charge. Vasquez recommended giving investigative authority to GM Tony Perez knowing full well that he would never call for an investigation because the Roybal Three would fire him.

Dirty Water: Roybal, Apodaca and Vasquez Eliminate Central Basin Ethics Committee


Finally, and what should be the last straw, we exclusively reported that Roybal was sent to LAUSD ‘Teacher Jail’ in March of this year while attending meetings at CBMWD and collecting over $25,000 in committee meeting fees-in direct violation of LAUSD policy.

Central Basin President Roybal Pulled From LAUSD Classroom Duties; Attends ‘Teacher’s Jail’


The effects of Roybal’s antics will be felt for years at CBMWD.  As president, he has directed corruption, coordinated cover-ups, attempted to pay off those who helped him get elected, and blatantly disregarded authority. Just a few weeks ago he voted to give Pacifica Engineering, who is suing CBMWD, and whom CBMWD is counter-suing, over $400,000 for ‘services rendered.’

The power has clearly gone to Roybal’s head. As Lord Acton said, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Putting water in front of power is what Roybal does, and for that he must resign.


  • Mike Tyson says:

    You said it! All three are corrupt but Roybal is the most arrogant, the most pompous, and the one who needs to go first! He has been a cancer on this organization and his illness is spreading on a daily basis. He foolishly believes that he is smarter than everyone else, including the General Manager. Why doesn’t he simply understand that he’s a disgraced, drunken former Special Ed teacher who is broke and ugly. He’s a lowlife that thinks he’s someone special. You’re NOT you clown. We all laugh at you and wish you’d just resign. No one here likes you!

  • FLFF says:

    Doesn’t anyone have the ear of our ESTEEMED democrat attorney general? The wonder from frisco bay, Kamala Harris? When she won, I knew things would swing to the left and it seems as if that has happened! We need SPECIAL elections for the Water Board ASAP!

  • Virginia Aguirre says:

    Roybal should be prosecuted for defrauding LAUSD. All we heard about are those poor teachers held in teacher’s jail, but what about those poor kids being abused? LAUSD doesn’t like paying teachers like Roybal for sitting on their asses instead of educating students, but they can’t risk the exposure of allowing them to teach after they molest children either. Roybal looks like the kind of pervert to force himself on some poor special ed child too! He’s seems just like his buddy Bob Apodaca who think they’re powerful important men that women just can’t resist, except Roybal’s victims are helpless children with handicaps and learning disabilities.