According to a recently unsealed lawsuit, the Central Basin Municipal Water District (CBMWD) used a $2.75 million secret “slush fund” to divvy up cash payments to political allies, relatives, board members and friends of district employees.
Embattled former Assemblyman Tom Calderon is reported to have received up to $12,000 a month from the fund.
Details of the burgeoning scandal came to light when former CBMWD board member Leticia Vasquez filed suit in a LA Superior Court alleging that members of the board and Art Aguilar, the district’s former general manager, conducted public business in private.
Vasquez has also claimed that Aguilar lawyers representing the district harassed her when she inquired into the nature and purpose of the fund.
According to the suit and severing ensuing depositions, the slush fund was created under the guise that it was needed to finance the creation and management of a secret water-storage program.
As to why exactly the program needed to remain a secret, Aguilar said board members “didn’t want anybody to know what we were doing, which is very difficult for a public agency.”
According to Vasquen, “The ground water storage program they created is worthless. That was an excuse for them to get the money out.”
Read the full story at the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.