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Central Basin Water GM Kevin Hunt Violated Employment Contract With Agency

BY BRIAN HEWS • Friday Aug. 16, 2019 • 9:45 am • [email protected]

CB GM Kevin Hunt, who recently signed a one-year employment renewal, is very grateful that former Assemblyman now California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) proposed legislation that passed in 2016 adding three unelected members to the Central Basin Board, bringing the total to eight members.

If it were not for the three members, all of whom do not live in the district and work for entities that compete with Central Basin, Hunt would not have a job. 

Hawkins, Chacon, and Vasquez want Hunt gone, Camacho-Rodriguez recently voted for Hunt’s contract extension, but sources are telling HMG-LCCN that she has since regretted that vote.

Directors Phil Hawkins, Art Chacon, and Leticia Vasquez have long expressed their disdain for Hunt, with Director Martha Camacho-Rodriguez having recently joined the three.

But since the Lara/Garcia bills packed the Board with current unelected Vice President John Oskoui, and Directors Dan Arrighi and Frank Heldman, the three, along with Hunt long- time ally President Bob Apodaca, all support the embattled GM preventing a vote that would be 4-1 to terminate Hunt if not for the Lara/Garcia bills.

But now the Board members might not have a choice.

An HMG-LCCN investigation has found that Hunt has violated his employment contract at least three times, failing to inform the Board of paid contracts Hunt’s consulting company, Hunt Thorton Resource Strategies, LLC, has performed for other cities.

Two violations occurred when Hunt Thorton signed a consulting agreement with the city of Beverly Hills in September 2015, just  four months after Hunt signed with Central Basin. 

Hunt Thorton was to provide Water Banking Consulting Services for 2015-’16 for a rate “not to exceed $50,000.” 

One year later, the contract was amended to “not exceed $124,970.” 

Hunt’s partner, John Thorton, earned $240 per hour, while Hunt was listed at earning $250 per hour. 

The other violation occurred in 2016 when Hunt Thorton contracted with the San Juan Basin for just under $18,000.

Hunt’s initial employment contract allowed Hunt Thornton to execute these contracts, but Hunt was required to inform the Board.

The contract stated, “[Hunt] agrees that during the term of this agreement, or any extensions thereof, employee shall disclose current clients and newly secured clients/contracts to the board on a quarterly report.” 

According to Directors Vasquez, Hawkins, and Chacon, Hunt has provided no such correspondence in regard to his agreements with Beverly Hills.

When HMG-LCCN emailed Hunt for comment, the GM first denied he had done any work for Beverly Hills since 2015.

But the contract, exclusively obtained by HMG-LCCN, was a 2016-’17 amendment to a 2015-’16 contract with Hunt Thorton. 

When informed of the work, CB Director Leticia Vasquez did not mince words, “Various board members including myself have asked Mr. Hunt to provide a report about any work, including any contracts, he and his company have secured while being employed as the Central Basin General Manager. Mr. Hunt has refused to do so, which is in violation of his contract. To make matters worse he has flatly denied having done any work for anyone.”

“I have found Mr. Hunt to be a compulsive liar and your newspaper’s findings about his contract in the city of Beverly Hills does not a surprise to me.” 

“I call on our Central Basin Directors to do the right thing and take action against Mr. Hunt. An investigation is necessary into these and many other questionable actions by Mr. Hunt during his time as General Manager of Central Basin. We have worked very hard to turn a different leaf at Central Basin and we don’t need another scandal.”