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SLUSH FUND: Central Basin Directors Violated Open Meeting Laws

The seat where  of Central Basin Water Board Director James Roybal was empty at Monday's meeting because he was attending "Teacher's Jail" with the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Pete Parker Photo

The seat where of Central Basin Water Board Director James Roybal was empty at Monday’s meeting because he was attending “Teacher’s Jail” with the Los Angeles Unified School District. Pete Parker Photo


By Brian Hews and Brian Hews

A report released on Monday said that former elected directors at the embroiled Central Basin Municipal Water District violated California’s Open Meeting Law back in 2010 when it created a secret slush fund of $2.75 million that was kept out of the public glare until Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper revealed the details of the situation several months ago.

But the report also seemed to exonerate the Directors by saying, “we believe, that a reviewing agency would not take any action because: (1) it was within the CBMWD’s legal authority to create its own groundwater storage plan; (2) the Directors reasonably relied on their General Counsel’s legal advice that they were permitted to discuss and cast this vote in a Closed Session; (3) any possible damages to the public or government are negligible; (4) any statutory remedial action is time-barred under California law; (5) the Directors have voluntarily cooperated to help resolve this matter; (6) two of the Directors present on June 28, 2010 are no longer members of the CBMWD’s Board, and (7) the record can be made clear by CBMWD re-processing any relevant documents or actions as if they had been undertaken in its ordinary course of business.”

The report did not exonerate the law firm of Sedgwick, Buchalter and attorney Doug Wance.

On Monday, Chairman Phil Hawkins and three other elected directors of the agency were officially notified by lawyers with Arent Fox that a complete report into the controversial fund will be completed within the next 30 days.

Arent Fox Attorney Craig Engle said that their nine-plus month investigation outlines in great detail on how former Central Basin Attorney Doug Wance of the law firm of Sedgwick, Buchalter and former General Manager Art Aguilar worked together to create the secret fund back on June 28, 2010.

Central Basin Water Board Director Leticia Vasquez interrupts a report from Attorney Rick Olivares at Monday's meeting in Commerce.  Pete Parker Photo

Central Basin Water Board Director Leticia Vasquez interrupts a report from Attorney Rick Olivares at Monday’s meeting in Commerce. Pete Parker Photo

HMG-CN has confirmed that members of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office are currently looking into the details of the fund in a massive criminal probe that has already resulted in multiple criminal felony accounts against current California State Senator Ronald Calderon and his brother former Assemblyman Thomas Calderon. 

Sources familiar with the slush fund confirm to HMG-CN that Ronald Calderon was one of the benefactors who landed untold thousands of dollars from the account.

Engle told current Central Basin Attorney Rick Olivares of the law firm of Olivarez Madruga, P.C.  in a written reports that, “we have reason to believe California law would hold that a governmental agency’s discussion and approval to authorize and appropriate funds over several years to plan a future development project cannot be held in a Closed Session under the litigation exception to the Brown Act when those plans and the project will create future facts and circumstances that will not reasonably prejudice the agency’s position in any litigation.”

Engle also said that his report will show that although “the discussion and vote by the CBMWD Directors on June 28, 2010 was recorded to provide resources and enter into an agreement as necessary for ongoing litigation, the discussion and vote were used to finance many non-litigation expenses, avoid criticism, and create an Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”).”

“We have reason to believe a reviewing governmental authority would conclude that CBMWD Directors’ discussion and vote on June 28, 2010 should have been conducted in a Public Session,” Engle told the directors on Monday.

The report slammed Sedgwick, Buhalter and Wance by saying, “we have reason to believe the government would review whether [Sedgwick, Buchalter] was acting consistent with any relevant Administrative Code when it: (a) collaborated  with vendors and agency staff  to cause an agency to incorrectly discuss a matter and cast a vote in a Closed Session; (b) created an agenda item and reported out a vote that did not reasonably represent the complete purpose of a discussion in a Closed Session; (c) created a fund that caused an agency to disburse money outside its ordinary course of business; and (d) actively managed the selection of vendors, drafted contracts and processed payments to and from the fund.”

Also during the meeting, around two-dozen protesters held placards and signs urging that Director James Roybal resign his seat since he is currently enrolled in the controversial “Teachers Jail” program at the Los Angeles Unified School District where he has been a high school teacher for several decades.

Roybal did not attend Monday’s meeting.  It is believed that he was indeed attending a required session of “Teachers Jail.”  The protesters had gathered in front of the location where Roybal attends the highly controversial program. (Additional Details to Follow).

  • I'm a Soul Man says:

    Leticia Vasquez is getting so fat I think she’ll explode and bring down Central Basin’s building. Can’t they lower the lights in the building when she waddles in?

    I’m so serious, this woman is catching up to LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina and Norwalk’s Cheri Kelly. And just like those two witches, this blimp is also a pain in the ass. Interesting, there’s obviously a connection between bitchy female politiicans and fat hogs?

  • Luis Alvarado says:

    It’s just amazing that Roybal and Vasquez campaigned against this very corruption when they ran for Central Basin, then they got in and started collecting their donations from these very same people…Doug Wance, HDR, Pacifica, Tom Calderon and so on.

    That is why this report is watered down. Tony Perez has his hands tied. The majority rule of Apodaca, Roybal and Vasquez won’t let any report generated by Perez’ management team to hurt their new pals (made after they were elected of course).

  • Ray Ferritto vs LaTWATTA says:

    Leticia looks like a cross between “The Creature From Blue Lagoon” and Jocelyn Wildenstein. I think if she continues to eat that Chorizo she’s gonna end up looking a stunt double for the role of “Precious”. Wait did I say she? Silly me, I forget I’m talking about a transvestite sometimes!

    You know when Vasquez does a handstand her stomach hits her in the face?

    I’ve got another.

    Vasquez and Apodaca are dancing at a club, and after a while things start to get hot and heavy. After some heavy kissing and petting, Vasquez makes the suggestion that they return to its’ home in Baldwin Park for the night.

    When the “couple” arrives at the transvestites fake residence, they begin passionately kissing and undressing each other, preparing to have frenzied and unrepentant sex with each other.

    However, Vasquez, curious as it was, asked Apodaca as he was taking off his pants, “before you take them off….is it true what they say about Mexican Midgets?”

    With a suave yet sinister look, he looked into it’s eyes and said “baby, of course.” He then proceeded to get it in the booty pipe by Vasquez and then accept $60,000 in bribes from Central Water Basin.

    Vasquez and Apodaca are living comfortable lives in Baldwin Park with their adopted love child Jimmy Roybal.