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Former Central Basin Water General Manager Files Lawsuit Against District

CB General Manager Tony Perez.

Former CB General Manager Tony Perez.


Former GM Perez sues District for Retaliation, Defamation and Breach of Contract

By Brian Hews

HMG-CN has exclusively obtained a copy of a lawsuit filed by lawyers of former Central Basin Municipal Water District (CBMWD) General Manager Tony Perez for retaliation, defamation and breach of contract against his former employer.

HMG-CN first reported the story on February 26, 2015 that Perez had filed a Claim for Damages Letter with CBMWD asking for over $8-million for Perez’s wrongful termination and defamation.

See story click here.

In an October 2014 article, HMG-CN reported that Perez had been fired “for cause” by Directors Apodaca, Vasquez and Roybal despite being first offered a 12-month written settlement agreement.

Perez claims he was told that he would have 21-days to review the proposal, and wasn’t informed of his termination until hours later by phone, as he was driving home.

Perez claims he has never been told the reason for his termination.

The lawsuit lists two lawyers as co-counsel representing Perez, Stephen Ball of Ball & Bonholtzer and Tim Sottile of Sottile – Baltaxe.

The inclusion of Tim Sottile adds a jurist to the Perez legal team with prior experience with the District, as Sottile was the lawyer representing former-contractor Sigrid Lopez in Lopez’s sexual battery lawsuit against Board President Bob Apodaca.

The Apodaca suit resulted in a $670,000 settlement payment to Lopez and the subsequent cancelling of the District’s employee liability insurance in June 2014.

The lawsuit alleges that Perez was terminated in part, as retaliation for Perez initiating a false claims lawsuit against former CBMWD contractor, Pacifica Services Inc. (PSI); conducting an investigation into Director Leticia Vasquez’s involvement in the criminal leaking and falsifying of a confidential federal subpoena; and completing an investigation that found Board President Bob Apodaca guilty of 5 of 7 sexual harassment allegations by the aforementioned Sigrid Lopez.

HMG-CN has previously reported that Perez terminated PSI and initiated a lawsuit after it was discovered that PSI had billed over $800,000 above the contractual limit authorized by the CBMWD Board.

HMG-CN also first reported that PSI employees had sent over 16,000-emails of racist and sexually lewd jokes on District time, and billed for time while entertaining former General Manager Art Aguilar on lavish golf trips. Both Aguilar and former director Ed Vasquez have each been fined over $30,000 by the Fair Political Practices Commission due to HMG-CN’s story on the unreported golf outings.

See story click here.

PSI has also contributed heavily to Apodaca’s election campaigns, and Apodaca’s common-law wife is the first-cousin of PSI President, Ernie Camacho.

HMG-CN first reported in July 2014 that a confidential federal subpoena had been falsified to slander Director Phil Hawkins, and was publically distributed by a private citizen during a Metropolitan Water District (MWD) Board meeting.

The private citizen, Lorraine Cervantes is a close friend of Leticia Vasquez, who had been replaced by Hawkins as the CBMWD representative to the MWD Board. Sources within the District claim that Vasquez was the only person that had a copy of the subpoena.

In a curious coincidence, Cervantes was discovered dead in her home last week, removing the key witness in the subpoena leak investigation. The cause of Cervantes’ death was not released at the time of this printing.

See story click here.

Additional causes of action included in Perez’s suit are for breach of contract and defamation.

When asked to comment, a water official who asked not to be named said “I can’t believe that these three (Apodaca, Vasquez and voting partner Director Roybal) would be dumb enough to fire Perez as they did. Perez’s reputation is impeccable and he knows everyone. Perez not only knows where all the bodies are buried, he knows the undertaker, the priest and the guy that drove the hearse. Considering you have 2-directors who will support Perez’s allegations, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion how a jury would find.”

Calls to Apodaca, Vasquez and Roybal for comment were not returned.

The District has 30-days to respond to the lawsuit.

See lawsuit click here.

  • Michelle says:

    This agency needs to be closed down. Why is there no oversight? Now a mysterious death is added to the saga??
    The DA– the FBI–as they take their sweet time more damage is done.

  • Drought of Brains Maybe says:

    Idiots! How did these clowns ever get elected? Whyt do these positions exist in the first place? I made sure that I did not vote for Bob Apodaca last year. Everyone should have know what a disgusting fat pig he is. He’s obvioulsy a sick, demented man who’s elected position just makes him feel more entitled.

    What can be done Brian? Who can we call? Do you reallyn think they killed Lorraine Cewrvantes? I know that Leticia Vasquez would be capable given her connections to the ghetto and South Central. Maybe you should watch your back Brian?

  • Frank Moreno says:

    Another example of the onerous and incestuous relationship of the East Los Angeles County politicians. Names such asCalderon,Camacho,Roybal, Vasquez and Apodaca have been around for years in East L.A. County politics. These blood sucking politicians have benefited themselves through lavish travel clandestine money schemes and in short have made a mockery of tax payers who are the ones that pay for these indescretions. WAKE UP EAST SIDERS!!!

  • Jim Odling says:

    Central Basin has spent over 1/2 million dollars on a destructive planned project they call the San Gabriel River Discovery Center. It would turn open park space into 116 parking spaces and build a huge 14,000 square foot building on a historic natural area across the street from South El Monte High School. The natural area is home of visited by Threatened and Endangered bird species and by tens of thousands of people, and students every year.

    Several millions of bond money paid for by California state tax payers has also disappeared into the multi-agency Discovery Center bureaucracy, including contractors/consultants over the past decade.

    Friends of the Whittier Narrrows Natural Area has been campaigning for almost a decade against water district waste and environmental destruction.

    Time is overdue to cut the money waste and end the planned destruction.

    The Whittier Daily News in a 2012 editorial wrote “the proposed San Gabriel River Discovery Center more and more holds every promise of being a bloated, overbuilt monument to government’s and water agencies’ overly developed sense of entitlement with infrastructure created from taxpayer and ratepayer dollars [$22 million].” Read the whole WDN Think Small at Whittier Narrows editorial at http://www.whittierdailynews.com/opinion/20120511/our-view-think-small-at-whittier-narrows

    Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District a second water agency member of the Discovery Center joint powers authority has also donated over $1/2 million.