The mission of the Water Replenishment District (WRD) is to provide, protect and preserve high-quality groundwater through innovative cost-effective and environmentally sensitive practices. The mission of being cost-effective apparently doesn’t apply to how the board members spends the agencies money on attorneys and their legal fees.
HMG-CN is reporting that a lawsuit has been filed against WRD for failure to honor the CA Public Records Act (PRA). Under the PRA, when a public agency receives a public records request, the agency has 10 days to respond to the inquiry. They must also provide an estimated time frame that the requested document(s) will be provided. They must also tell you whether the documents will be redacted and/or have an associated cost for producing them.
Related: HMG-CN Files Lawsuit Against the Water Replenishment District for Violating the California Public Records Request Act
In this case, HMG-CN initiated a public records request related to the legal billing of John W. Harris of Harris and Associates. Allegedly a former employee of Harris produced documents proving the law firm fraudulently billed WRD back in 2014.
The original Jan. 18 HMG-CN public records request asked for the settlement agreement between Harris and the WRD.
The request revealed WRD placed clauses in the Harris settlement agreement that directly violate relevant Government Codes concerning the California Public Records Act, (CPRA).
The negotiation for the settlement agreement was between Harris, WRD President Sergio Calderon, and Directors Rob Katherman and Albert “Lil Al” Robles.
Robert Katherman and his wife are currently in the middle of a trial, Case number YA090605, in a Torrance, CA courtroom, facing allegations of embezzling public funds.
HMG-CN also reported WRD board members voted in favor of paying the legal fees for Albert Robles defense that he does not hold incompatible offices. Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey has filed suit for Robles to vacate the last seat he was elected to, which would be his mayoral seat on the Carson city council.