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By Brian Hews
HMG-CN has learned that the Central Basin Water Board (CB), in a 3-2 to vote, opened a formal investigation looking into CB General Manager Kevin Hunt’s alleged improprieties committed during the Board selection process as mandated by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia’s (Downey) AB 1794.
AB 1794 was signed into law in September 2016 with the intent to reform the CB Board amid charges of mismanagement, corruption, and “Board dysfunction.”
HMG-CN has learned that President Phil Hawkins, Director Art Chacon, and VP Pedro Aceituno voted yes to investigate, while longtime Hunt allies Leticia Vasquez and Bob Apodaca voted no.
Originally there was an agenda item to place Hunt on administrative leave, but there was no information on the item at the time of publication.
The Board subsequently hired Culver City based attorney Anthony Willoughby to investigate Hunt, paying Willoughby a $25,000 retainer. Willoughby can start the investigation today.
After the Board meeting, an “angry” and defiant Hunt proceeded to continue with the selection process and reportedly began opening ballots to select the Board members.
HMG-CN has been told that additional questionable actions by Hunt are “in the works” as some applicants have been disqualified from the selection process so other applicants can run unopposed.
In addition a temporary retraining order due to former CB employee Ron Beilke’s lawsuit could be filed soon to stop the selection process.
Beilke stated in an exclusive article published by HMG-CN last week, “I was very concerned that (CB General Manager) Kevin Hunt was rushing to appoint three directors that he had hand-picked in order seat directors who he controlled” Beilke stated. “These directors will be Hunt’s bosses, so if the GM is allowed to select his bosses, that is a clear conflict of interest.”
In that same article CB Board President Phil Hawkins commented “I was very concerned that the GM was rushing the process and was not keeping the Board apprised, and I informed the GM of that. I was afraid that constituents would complain and I was right.”
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