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Central Basin Directors Roybal, Vasquez, and Apodaca Once Again Call Meeting to Fire General Manager


[l-r] Central Basin Directors Leticia Vasquez, James Roybal, and Bob Apodaca are once again attempting to fire current GM Tony Perez [below]. The first attempt was squashed after Vasquez failed to call in for the vote. Vasquez was the last to call for the item to be placed on next Monday’s agenda this past Wednesday.

By Brian Hews and Randy Economy

Central Basin Water Board Directors James Roybal, Leticia Vasquez, and Bob Apodaca have called a special meeting after next Monday’s regular meeting to once again attempt to fire current Central Basin General Manager Tony Perez.

Vasquez was the final vote to place the item on the agenda, calling late Wednesday.

HMG-CN reported last week that former California State Assemblyman Rudy Bermudez was being pushed by the three directors to become the next General Manager of the besieged public agency.

But that meeting did not take place when Director Vasquez failed to call in and confirm the vote; Roybal and Apodaca had called in to confirm earlier.

Now they have the votes and the item is officially on the agenda, whether they bring in Bermudez will be answered after Monday’s meeting.

The assertion that Bermudez was being tapped came after CB Director Art Chacon’s received what he referrred to as a series of “conflicting” phone calls between Bermudez, Perez and himself last week.

Chacon said that he and Perez spoke to Bermudez on at least three occasions.

Perez confirmed to HMG-CN that Bermudez had called him earlier last Thursday.

Bermudez said to Perez that Chacon had told him that Directors Roybal, Vasquez and Apodaca were intending to fire Perez and were planning on naming an interim replacement.

Chacon emphatically told Perez that no such conversation took place and that Bermudez “was lying.”

“For some unknown reason, Bermudez told Perez I was the source disclosing plans to terminate the General Manager, but as I told Perez, that was not true and I question why I was accused.”

HMG-CN had published reports that Bermudez was targeted by Vasquez, Roybal and Apodaca to be hired to take over the GM role at Central Basin.

But, Bermudez sternly denied those assertions and reiterated that in a text message to HMG-CN on Saturday. “Someone gave you bad information the last time and you ran the story anyway, the information is still bad.”

When asked to confirm or deny he could be the new GM with a simple yes or no, Bermudez responded with the same comment.

HMG-CN contacted LA County Supervisor Don Knabe for a second time about the dismissal of Perez who said, “Central Basin needs to stop searching for a scapegoat to blame for their dysfunction and negligence, and instead review their mission: to distribute water.  The constituents who elected us depend on Central Basin being stable and reliable.  Removal of their General Manager would jeopardize their insurance, financial status and stability, and it is a painfully obvious attempt to cast dispersions away from who is truly responsible for this mess.  Show some leadership and accountability.  Surprise me.”

After the first attempt to fire Perez, CB Board President Phil Hawkins asked for a “what if” report if Perez was fired.

HMG-CN obtained that report and published the story this week.

Click here to read story and view the report.

Central Basin Board President Phil Hawkins said, “This (the firing) would be a disaster both financially as well as politically. If they fire Tony, we can’t refinance our bonds and our reserves will be depleted in 12 months. We have a dysfunctional board; if they see us fire Tony then we have a dysfunctional administrative team. Tony is negotiating the bonds now, if they see Tony leave, then they will drop us and our payments will go up by $1 million a month.”

Of equal concern is a possible Brown Act Violation by Roybal, Vasquez, and Apodaca. Said one source at Central Basin, “how do you fire someone 45 days before an election and bring another person in within 24 hours without a meeting between Roybal, Vasquez, and Apodaca, it is impossible and likely a Brown Act Violation.”

Bermudez is a known associate of convicted seven-time felon Ricardo “Ric”  Mayer who successfully managed both Roybal’s and Vasquez’ 2012 campaigns and is suspected of working behind-the-scenes on Apodaca’s current November re-election race.

Sources have told HMG-CN that Mayer, in his capacity as a home contractor, is alleged to have extensively remodeled Apodaca’s Whittier home.

Roybal also reported on his most recent 460 campaign finance filings that his over $18,000 indebtedness to Mayer was “forgiven”.

“It seems that those three are up to their old tricks,” stated a source close to the District.  “Roybal needs a GM who will put an end to the ongoing investigation into his acceptance of $25,000 in pay for attending District meetings while also accepting pay from his former employer, LAUSD.”

Roybal resigned from LAUSD in July following his year and a half long reassignment in “Teacher Jail” amid allegations of improper conduct with children.

Vasquez is also under investigation at Central Basin for allegedly leaking confidential federal subpoenas to reporter Mike Sprague at the Whittier Daily News as well as her part in the subsequent forgery of subpoenas altered to make it look like President Hawkins was under investigation by the F.B.I.

Vasquez is also seeking favorable management at Central Basin that would be supportive of her Qui Tam whistleblower case, which has cost the district over $250,000; a case that all agree will be thrown out in October.

It is expected that once Vasquez’ case is tossed out by the courts, she will be targeted by the named defendants in a series of defamation lawsuits that could expose the former recalled Lynwood Councilwoman to hundred’s of thousand’s in damages.

“Bermudez is seen as someone who would do whatever the majority needed, irregardless of the consequences to the ratepayers,” according to sources familiar with the former state assemblyman.

According to Bermudez resume, he is a former Norwalk City Councilman and former probation officer.

Unlike current GM Tony Perez, Bermudez is not an engineer and has no water-related experience or credentials.