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Olivarez Out as Legal Counsel At Central Basin Water District; Emotions Boil Over Again Between Chacon, Roybal, Vasquez

Central Basin Water InvestigationBy Randy Economy

The legally embattled Central Basin Municipal Water District is now shopping for a new lawyer after a critical vote was taken during another rowdy and contentious gathering of the five member elected body in Commerce on Monday morning.

Out is attorney Rick Olivarez who confirmed to Hews Media Group in a series of text messages throughout the day that he will no longer represent the public agency in the future.

“I am not going to apply, it is time for me to move on,” said Olivarez.

CBMWD is under criminal probe by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the US Attorney’s Office, as well as a cadre of other agencies.

Olivarez has been credited for being a stabilizing legal presence for Central Basin during the past year. Olivarez and his law firm also represents other local government agencies including the City of El Monte.

Chairman Phil Hawkins praised Olivarez during Monday’s meeting. The vote to start the hiring process to select a new attorney was approved by all five directors.

It was the first time in months that all five directors unanimously agreed on a major decision.

Nevertheless, a series of verbal punches between rival Directors James Roybal and Art Chacon almost became physical.

Roybal has been a political lightning rod at the agency ever since his election back in 2012 while Chacon has come under fire during the past two months by Director Leticia Vasquez.  Vasquez held a bizarre press conference last month in the board of director’s hearing room that blasted Chacon’s past spotty driving record.

On Monday, Chacon reminded Roybal about his participation and enrollment as an “inmate” at the notorious “Teacher’s Jail” after an undisclosed incident or incidents levied against him by Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy was reported first by Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper.

Roybal asked General Manager Tony Perez to have a group of vocal protesters who showed up at the meeting to put picket signs that were emblazoned with slogans such as “Roybal Go Back to Teachers’ Jail,” and “Resign Roybal,” and “Stay Away From our Children, Roybal!”

Roybal and Chacon who sit next to each other during the meeting squared off face-to-face lambasting each other with harsh words.

Vasquez also jumped into the fray by holding up copies of Chacon’s past driving record.

Chacon even asked for one of the protesters to hand him one of the Roybal protest signs that he promptly hung on the dais.

Roybal got so angry at Chacon that he intentionally called him “Hector” Chacon instead of Art Chacon.  Hector Chacon is Art Chacon’s brother and is a longtime elected member of the Montebello Unified School District Board of Education.

Art Chacon even blurted out that Roybal “likes to molest little boys” right before a break was called so the elected officials could regain their composure.

The Board also voted 3-2 to defer until a special 10 a.m. Wednesday meeting a decision on a response to the possible loss of the district’s insurance.

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