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Dirty Water: Central Basin Municipal Water District President Roybal and Director Vasquez Cashing in on New Positions

Monday January 20, 2013, 5:50 p.m.

By Brian Hews


[l-r} CBMWD President James Roybal, Director Leticia Vasquez, and VP Robert “Bob” Apodaca. Graphic by Brian Hews

Hews Media Group-Community News has obtained documents from a public records request that show Central Basin Municipal Water District Director Leticia Vasquez and President James Roybal leveraging their new positions at CBMWD, taking in large monthly checks from the embattled agency for attending Board and Committee meetings.

Both directors were elected in June 2012 and took office early 2013. They quickly banded with Director Bob Apodaca to form an alliance that would soon pay big dividends.

Within one week of taking office, Roybal illegally suspended the CBMWD Administrative Code. Roybal, along with Vasquez and Apodaca, removed Director Art Chacon from the Presidency and installed himself as President.

Roybal then removed Chacon and Director Phil Hawkins from all but one committee, giving most to Vasquez and the pay that comes with each meeting.

According to Payroll Disbursement Records from CBMWD, since Vasquez gained her new committee appointments, she has garnered over $47,000 in 12 months, taking in as much as $5,600 per month.

When contacted by HMG-CN, Vasquez said, “ as a Director on both Central Basin and Metropolitan Water District boards I spend countless hours representing my constituents and understanding the needs of the communities I serve.”

Records show that Vasquez has missed several committee and Board meetings citing “previous commitments.

Vasquez was elected to CBMWD under a cloud of shady dealings and contributions from questionable sources. Engineering firm HDR, Sedgewick attorney Doug Wance, Ernie Camacho and his company Pacifica, MLJ Properties, owned by Camacho’s children, and Ron and Tom Calderon gave Vasquez over $14,000 for her campaign. Most of the contributors are now targets of the FBI and its investigation of CBMWD and the Calderons

In addition, in February an exclusive HMG-CN investigation revealed that Vasquez’ campaign was financed by convicted felon Rick Meyer and Angle Gonzalez, who was charged with a felony but pled down to a misdemeanor.

Similar to Vasquez, Roybal is reaping rewards from his new position. An examination of the same Payroll Disbursement Records from CBMWD show Roybal making over $35,000 since January, taking in as much as $4,100 per month for attending those same meetings.

Texts and phone calls from HMG-CN to Roybal for comment were not returned.

Similar to Vasquez, Roybal’s road to CBMWD election was helped by the same contributors; Mayer and Gonzales also financed his campaign. Roybal also received $5,000 from Camacho and reported $6,617 in un-itemized contributions, where he does not identify the source of the funding.  Those donations are currently under official investigation by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, who is charged with enforcement of campaign financing in California.

Compounding the pay situation, in November of this year, an exclusive HMG-CN investigation revealed that President Roybal, a teacher at Wilson High, was remanded to LAUSD “Teacher’s Jail” February 20, 2013.

Beginning in the mid 90′s, teachers accused of misconduct have been removed from their teaching assignments and held in district offices while administrators and law enforcement agencies investigate allegations.

In a January 15, 2013 televised statement made by LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy, only teachers accused of “egregious acts” are reassigned. They are returned to their classrooms only after being cleared by law enforcement.

Under written rules, teachers in jail are to check in every day for 2 hours and then go back to their home. They are not to seek a second job, take a day trip, or enjoy outside entertainment, such as going to the movies, sporting events, shopping, etc.

The records show that over $30,000 of the $35,000 Roybal has realized has been paid after February 20, a direct violation of LAUSD’s Teacher Jail rules. Most meetings Roybal attended were immediately after his 2-hour stay at teacher jail violating the policies of LAUSD

Calls into the Integrity Division of the LAUSD asking what actions will be taken against Royal went unreturned.


  • Snap, Crackle, Pop says:

    These guys are pigs! Roybal being the biggest of the bunch. So you mean to tell me that he’s pulling down a full teacher’s salary (plus benefits) for working only two hours a day while pulling in another $35,000 (plus benefits) at Central Basin. Amazing, he’s a crappy teacher locked up in teacher’s jail for being some kind of pervert and he’s an even worse elected official screwing up Central Basin. What a jerk!

    How about calling the District Attorney’s Public Integrity Division as well. Obviously LAUSD is totally screwed up. Bet Roybal pocketed a few iPad’s as well.

  • El Monte Observer says:

    There are very strange resemblances between City of El Monte & CBMWD, you decide for yourself:
    1) Pacifica paid $5,000.00 to a certain El Monte councilwoman, who brags that she’s cousins with 2 US Congress members, The Sanchez Sisters.
    The City Councilwoman was considering a run for Congress herself at one time, thus she sold her city to the highest bidder. Behold, who jumped to her call, none other than Ernie Camacho aka Pacifica.
    She took his large campaign bribes & he magically appeared as a Preferred Vendor to the City of EM. Staff protested, but he was IN. The City Manager and Public Works Director are no longer then, but Pacifica still is, hmmm.

    2) Guess who is the City Attorney for both El Monte & CBMWD, yes OLIVAREZ & MADRUGA. In fact, the attorney that the Roybal-3 beat up recently and forced to Say He Was Incompetent, R. Padilla, was the Attorney for El Monte before Olivarez stole the account & made Padilla an employee. Yes, Olivarez (his name is Roybal-Olivarez actually) son of US Congress Member Lucille Roybal, who’s district oversees CBMWD, Cities of Huntington Park & Cudahy; which interstingly Roybal-Olivarez & Madruga are City Attorney for ALL those City’s also.

    3) Guess who are long time family friends & co-board members for the White Memorial Hospital, Mr. Roybal-Olivarez & Mr. Camacho.
    See (http://www.whitememorial.com/foundation/board)
    Could it be that as Legal Counsel for CBMWD & being hired by the Roybal 3, that Roybal-Olivarez has been helping the family benefactor, Camacho/Pacifica’s efforts? Word is that the family relationship goes back to when Lucille Roybal was head of the Latino Congressional Caucus and helped Andy Camacho’s daughter be chosen as the roommate to Chelsea Clinton when they were both in college. How much do you think that cost the Camacho Family? Maybe that’s why he needed the Slush Fund money…

    • Mike Tyson says:

      Uncle Ernie, as we refer to him around the District, was and still is, in charge of this place. Camacho and Calderon ran this place and Art Aguilar, Dave Hill and Gil Cedillo Jr. all took their marching orders from those two. Now, Camacho is firmly in control of the majoirty.

      As with the old regime, the Roybal Three will only last for so long. The LA Times did a number on the old boys and now this paper is working it’s magic on these three idiots ..gee, wonder who’s the link between those two papers??

      We are so very close people. Once Bob Apodaca is out, we might finally have a chance to be a real water agency again. We have a good staff now, somehow in spite of those creeps milking this place. We just need to keep Uncle Ernie AWAY from Apodaca’s replacement! His greed and bribes have no end, just ask Roybal, Vasquez and Apodaca.

    • Steve says:

      You guys have a whole menu of corruption to choose from here, this is just like El Monte. Rick Mayer has infected El Monte just like Central Basin. Why don’t you look into the plum contract he just got for replacing LED lights in the city without a vendor bidding process? Or how about this one: Norma Macias strong arming vendors to play or pay her, just look at the list of contributors. It’s like an orgy of corruption and payola.

  • Bert Rodriquez says:

    Pacifica also pulled the same crap in Pico Rivera with the local school district. El Rancho Unified was also fleeced by Pacifica for millions in bond work that resulted in very little progress. Ernie Camacho had Joe Rivera in his hip pocket, ala Roybal, Vasquez and Apodaca.

    But the only twist there was that Ernie’s brother Andy was the general counsel for El Rancho. That’s right, Kunkle and Camacho were the lawyers for the district for many years, working side by side with that other crook, Supt. Norb Genis.

    Money talks and the rest of us just get screwed.

    Any more juice Pacifica stories out there folks???

  • South Gate Corruption Survivor says:

    So Rick Mayer came out of his rodent hole in El Monte recently? Makes sense, where ever the thieves are, Rick follows. This guy has never earned an honest days pay in his life. El Monte is already broke and with people like Ernie Camacho, Rick Olivarez, Norma Macias and now Rick Mayer there, the feds will be lurking soon. This shit never ends no matter how often it’s exposed.