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CB General Manager Tony Perez.

CB General Manager Tony Perez is suing CB for $8 million.

Claim alleges Directors Roybal, Vasquez & Apodaca illegally conspired to fire GM Perez

 By Brian Hews

HMG-CN has exclusively obtained a copy of a Claim for Damages letter against Central Basin Municipal Water District (CBMWD) filed by former General Manager Tony Perez asking for over $8-million as compensation for Perez’s illegal termination and subsequent defamation.

Included as respondents in the claim are CBMWD Directors James Roybal, Leticia Vasquez and Bob Apodaca.

By law, CBMWD will have 30-days to respond to the claim.

As first reported by HMG-CN on October 9th 2014, Perez received a draft settlement agreement to separate from the District. Perez claimed he was told by the District’s General Counsel that he would have 21-days to consider the District’s offer, but as Perez was driving home several hours later, he was called by the District’s Human Resources Manager informing him that the Board had voted to terminate him for cause effective immediately.

Perez claims he was never informed of the reason for his termination.

Perez alleges that Roybal, Vasquez, Apodaca “engineered and acted in concert in wrongfully discharging him from his employment as General Manager.”

CB Director Leticia Vasquez

Central Basin Municipal Water District President James Roybal

CB Director James Roybal


CBMWD Bob Apodaca

CB Director Bob Apodaca

The claim also alleges that Perez was retaliated against for engaging in protected activities that would “prove harmful, embarrassing and cause potential criminal liability to the respondent directors.” The activities listed in the complaint include investigating billing practices of Pacifica Services Inc., investigating sexual battery charges against Director Apodaca resulting in a $670,000 settlement for the victim, investigating Director Roybal illegally receiving CBMWD funds while assigned to L.A. Unified School District’s “teacher jail,” investigating Director Vasquez’s involvement in the potentially criminal leaking and forging of a federal subpoena, and refusal to provide Director Vasquez preferential treatment in Vasquez’s qui tam lawsuit against former vendors and employees of CBMWD, a suit where Vasquez stands to make over $2-million if she prevails.

Perez alleges further that the directors knew his termination was baseless because they did not specify the particular matters on which is termination for cause was based on.

Perez also alleges the directors worked in concert, a violation of the Brown Act, prior to voting to fire him by authorizing $100,000 to hire Tafoya and Garcia to investigate the him.


HMG-CN first reported in January 2015 that the law firm of Tafoya and Garcia (T&G) was awarded a sole-source contract by CBMWD that was later amended to increase T&G’s budget to $100,000 and to provide T&G a questionable upfront deposit of $20,000.

The amendment was executed on October 9th 2014, the same day as Perez’s termination. Sources at CBMWD indicate that T&G has expended over $100,000 to date and have yet to provide any work product.

Perez is asking for over $3.2 million that was owed to him under his contract and another $5 million for defamation and further “non-economic damages.”


Director Art Chacon, a harsh critic of Roybal, Vasquez, and Apodaca commented, “What’s left to say? These three were warned that this day would come, but they believe they are above the law. These directors are under investigation by the U.S. Attorney, the D.A., the County Board of Supervisors, and the FPPC and they don’t bat an eye. Nothing will change until there is an election, a recall, law enforcement intervention, or all three.”

Director Phil Hawkins commented, “I can’t speak about the merits of the case because it is pending litigation, but I certainly did not support Perez’s dismissal. A lawsuit of this size would have devastating effects on the District’s continued ability to operate. This could and should have been resolved amicably.”

Directors Roybal, Vasquez and Apodaca did not return calls for comment.



  • The Dr. says:

    Anyone else sick of hearing about all the B.S. going on at the Water District?

    Low life scum sucking food money away form the low socioeconomic families.

    It’s sad, but most of these water rate payers have it coming to them. They support and vote for these low-life’s.

    I say get it over with and triple the water rates and keep paying for the misdeeds of the Board. It won’t been until over half the families in the Central Basin have their water turned off will the votes toss these crooks out of office.