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Central Basin Director Apodaca Votes to Settle His Own Sexual Harassment Claim

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2013, 7:50 p.m.

He participated in a closed session meeting on Monday Jan. 6 with President Royal and Director Vasquez while other directors were absent.

By Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News has obtained an audio recording of Central Basin Municipal Water District’s Special Board Meeting on Monday that shows, despite a strong warning of conflict from CBMWD legal counsel, President James Roybal, Directors Leticia Vasquez and Bob Apodaca orchestrating a legal session to settle a sexual harassment and battery claim against Apodaca.

The claim, filed by Sigrid Lopez, seeks $1 million in damages.

HMG-CN first published the claim filed against Apodaca by Lopez in November 2013 that detailed shocking examples of abuse including Apodaca’s claims of “tag teaming” women at District-paid educational conferences.

With CBMWD Directors Phil Hawkins and Art Chacon absent, Roybal, Vasquez, and Apodaca seized the opportunity as a quorum and forged a quiet settlement to Apodaca’s latest incident of alleged sexual inappropriateness.

The three voted to refer the case to CBMWD GM Tony Perez for a decision on whether to send to the Association of California Water Agencies Joint Powers Insurance Authority (ACWAJPIA) for outside settlement or keep the case in-house. Keeping the case in-house would cause major problems for Apodaca.

An internal investigation of the case, initiated by CBMWD management, began in May 2013 and sources close to the District claim that over 17 witnesses have provided testimony, including all current Directors, two former Directors, numerous current and former staffers and consultants, as well as the longtime girlfriend of Apodaca.

Sources tell HMG-CN that the investigation has cost CBMWD over $30,000, not including considerable and ongoing attorney fees.

In the recording, Richard Padilla sternly advised Apodaca during open session prior to adjournment to closed session, and during closed session, that he should not participate during legal discussions in the matter of Lopez v. CBMWD/Bob Apodaca. Padilla said legal discussions would constitute conflicts for at least two members. He stated, “it may behoove Director Apodaca to recuse himself.”

As he continued, President Roybal silenced Padilla by repeatedly interrupting him during open session, insisting they discuss these issues in closed session, which they did.

In the audio Padilla reported that, “legal counsel and the General Manager provided an update on the claim and the referring of this matter to JPIA. The direction from the Board was unanimous of those present in the closed session proceeding to delegate the claim to the ACWAJPIA. Our legal staff will work with Mr. Perez to verify this can be done.”

HMG-CN contacted Director Art Chacon who had an opportunity to listen to the audio recording and felt that Padilla went “above and beyond” to warn the three about potential conflicts.

Chacon said Padilla went so far as to spell the conflict out by saying “I cannot direct either of you not to be in closed session, however, my admonishing here does not inoculate you from any potential violations you might receive, so I just want to be very clear-you’re on your own.”

Chacon was outraged that Director Apodaca participated in any discussion or vote pertaining to his own legal case. Chacon was also very concerned that Roybal and Vasquez ignored legal advice and allowed Apodaca to discuss and vote on the claim.

Chacon added that he would have preferred CBMWD to handle the matter from within. He said that if our insurance keeps paying for Apodaca’s perversions, then in essence our premiums are akin to paying Apodaca’s dues in some “perverts club.” “Apodaca knows that the ACWAJPIA will find an amount to settle out of court while making the victim sign a confidentiality agreement ensuring her silence, people’s water bills are paying for this guy’s fun and games,” he said.

HMG contacted Director Hawkins who also felt that Apodaca’s participation in the closed session was inappropriate and illegal. “Those three could have held off meeting to discuss these issues until the full Board was available,” he said. “The action they took was to make the handling of a serious matter, the sexual assault of another person, a routine administrative issue to pass off to ACWAJPIA, it’s outrageous,” added Hawkins.

Scott Collins, a 14-year Norwalk Planning Commissioner who has announced that he intends to challenge Apodaca in the November election, says, “he agrees that CBMWD should keep the lawsuit in house and force Apodaca to face his demons. This is why we need a change of leadership at CBMWD.”

When made aware HMG-CN knew of the vote, Director Vasquez first said, “there was no vote on that matter, there was no quorum.” Her statement, in direct conflict with the statement on audio by Padilla that said, “the direction from the Board was unanimous of those present in the closed session.”

Vasquez was then told HMG-CN possessed the audio tape and she repeated that “there was no quorum on the issue therefore no decision was made, but it would be great to see and hear them for accuracy; please forward them to me.”

Three hours after Vasquez was made aware of the story, HMG-CN received an email from CBMWD scheduling, “a special legal matters meeting on the Apodaca case” for next Monday Jan. 13.

Calls and texts into Roybal and Apodaca went unanswered.


  • Chacon / Hawkins Partners Inc. says:

    Why haven’t Chacon and Hawkins sat down with the District Attorney? Where the heck is the DA and her DA Public Integrity Division?

    They are either part of the problem or part of the solution. If they are not doing EVERYTHING they can for the taxpayers they are part of the problem and blood is also on their hands.

    • gilman says:

      The word is that the DA’s public integrity division has ground to a halt under the new DA.

      • Looks Like ****, Smells Like ***** says:

        The word? Try the FACT! With all the dirt exposed by this newspaper alone you’d think the District Attorney would have moved on these people, especially Leticia Vasquez. I hate to say it, but maybe Vasquez’ old man Ron Wilson has an inside track with our DA for “unknown” reasons of course….of course? I’m just saying…looks like****, smells like *****!

        • Chacon / Hawkins Partners Inc. says:

          Well let’s start a write-in campaign to the DA and forward the information to as many people as we can and ask they also send a request for investigation to the DA. We can chat on here and we should also follow up with letters, emails and phone calls.

          All we need is one person in a position to do something to listen.

          Here is the link to the LA County DA

          Maybe someone on here knows what federal agencies to contact.

  • David Lauderdale says:

    The real problem with this political corruptness is no one knows how to stop them..
    LADWP another prime example. They simply refuse to cooperate and say NO.. I say run them out on a rail.. Tar & feathers is one hell of a deterrent.
    Or how about.. STOP GIVING THEM OUR MONEY !!!!!!!!!!
    This corruption is a learned trait..Just look at the Calderon Clan. I am sure Mr. Apodaca and his minions in training are setting their sights on bigger and better options as of this writing.
    D. Lauderdale

  • Bert Rodriquez says:

    Great job Los Cerritos News! Can you imagine what would be going on if you were not watching these guys? Bob Apodaca is one sick and slimy character and his pals Roybal and Vasquez are pieces of cr*p too! What is it going to take to have these three removed?

  • Legal Eagle says:

    Something doesn’t sound right here. This lawyer appears to have been very good at his job and yet somehow he misspoke? Something stinks here, sounds like yet another District Attorney investigation?

  • Leticia Vasquez says:

    The facts are there was no vote on that matter and no action was taken since here was no quorum. To clarify the issue this matter will be taken up again at the next regular Central Basin meeting. Stay tuned. There are definably no efforts, as your newspaper alleges, to “cover up” the very serious allegations being leveled against Director Apodoca.

    • Editor’s note: Ms. Vasquez is a Director on the Central Basin Board.

    • Mike Tyson says:

      I wasn’t going to comment here, but I HAVE heard the recordings and most definitely Mr.Padilla did NOT misspeak. There WAS a quorum (as reported by Mr. Padilla) and there WAS direction given (also as reported by Mr. Padilla. In fact, his EXACT words establishing a quorum were, reporting after closed session, that “for the record, three of five Board Members were present that being Directors Vasquez, Roybal and Apodaca.” Then Mr. Padilla refered to item 3A which was the Apodaca’s Sexual Harassment lawsuit filed by Ms. Lopez and then he stated that the ACTION TAKEN was “the unanimous direction of those present, was to delegate subject to verification that this can be done, the authority to make a discussion as to whether or not this should be tendered to JPIA….”

      This woman deserves to be led away in handcuffs! She is a liar to the point where something mental is maybe wrong with her (which would probably be a valid finding in her case). People may not know it but SHE’S SUING the very District she represents all to make an easy buck! That’s right, she also participated in item 3B to which Mr. Padilla admonished her in open session to recuse herself because she might have a “financial conflict”! Dah! Her ambulance chasing boyfriend obviousy advised her that being a whistle blower would be a slam dunk here, but now she may have cooked her own goose by participating in closed session! And why, cause she’s a greedy ghetto chick who is a hustler by nature.

      Ms. Vasquez and Mr. Apodaca and Roybal are a disgrace. We simply can’t take it much longer. Everyone on staff is on pins and needles just waiting for the next shoe to drop. We are NOT a water agency anymore, we are a frickin’ circus act! Hopefully, this latest act of corruption will be their downfall. These three WILL GO DOWN!

    • Open Letter says:

      Ms. Vasquez,

      You like to spout off against the newspaper and also against individuals forwarding water basin articles yet, you REFUSE to spout off against Apodaca. Why?

      Is it because you are just a corrupt? If you were really for the rate payers you would be kicking this guy’s A$$ to the curb. Would you not?

      Are you happy low income minorities are overpaying for water because of your board. Is that the American dream you believe in?

      Where is your self-respect as a woman? Do you feel what this guy is accused of doing to girls acceptable? Shame on you as a female leader and a Latina!

      Why do you allow this guy to be the head of the board (you can vote him off)? The only reason I can think of is because you want to be led by a slime ball. And guess what that must say about your character.

      Where is the reform you promised to bring? Seems you and Royball are doing nothing to bring reform only breeding more corruption and questions of ethic-less government.

      It’s a simple a black-and-white choice Ms. Vasquez. Stand up for Apodaca or Stand up for the people who trusted you with their vote!

  • Looks Like ****, Smells Like ***** says:

    What you people are seeing now is the real Leticia Vasquez. I’ve known this woman for almost 20 years and she is a complete fraud. Leticia will step on anyone and everyone who gets in her way. She has this incredible notion that she’s above everyone she grew up with and that people are jealous of her “success”?? What a laugh!

    She’s so proud of that disgusting old man she lives with like somehow an interracial relationship has delivered her from the hood. Well, in my opinion she just left one hood for another. What future does she think she’ll find with that man who’s grown children see her as just a Latina prostitute that comes cheap.

    The people of Lynwood saw right thru you. They quickly saw you for what you were and recalled you promptly. Trust me, that’ll happened at Central Basin too. Maybe we should spread the word about your days crossing the Mexican Boarder running drugs. Yup, you’ll never be more than the mule you where then and are now. You need to resign before your own friends come after you!

  • Idea Man says:

    I received an email from Leticia Vasquez professing her innocence that displayed an address: [email protected]. Wasn’t she recalled in Lynwood and tossed out on her corrupt ass? You’d think she’d stop bragging about being the first Latina Mayor and all that other crap. She was a part of a city council that ended up with three members behind bars. Some accomplishment??

    Some people say that she’s interested in seeking higher political office. ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME? This woman is both slimy and a scumbag! Jail is where she belongs.