|Part I: Municipal Water Boards - Corruption Watch
Central Basin Municipal Water District
And You Thought Your Water Was Clean
George Cole and corruption in the Central Basin Municipal Water District:
Dirty tricks, lucrative $700,000 contract to George Cole's Oldtimers Foundation and other conflicts of interest
Posted Thursday, January 4, 2007
Carson, CA - George Cole served for 4 years as director for Div. III of the Central Basin Municipal Water
District. Cole is also a councilman in the city of Bell.
Recently, it was revealed that George Cole had a certain conflict of interest resulting from being a board
member of the water district while being a councilman in the city of Bell. He was motivated not to run for
re-election to the board because he had a potential "1090" conflict of interest violation. The organization
he controls, The Oldtimer's Foundation, has received a contract from the Central Basin Municipal Water
District, conflict of interest be damned.
George Cole hand picked Servando Ornelas to be his candidate in the November 2006 election in order to
continue his legacy of corruption and avoid being prosecuted for self-dealing.
George Cole's candidate lost to Arturo Chacon, who won during November 2006 elections to the Central
Basin Municipal Water District as the new Director of Div.III, which generally covers southeast L.A. County
George Cole, Robert "Bob" Apodaca and Phillip D. Hawkins controlled that board. And have awarded
Millions of questionable contracts to well connected friends and family members.
Ernie Camacho owner of Pacifica Services, Inc. is related by marriage to Robert "Bob" Apodaca, and is the
"preferred" engineering firm which receives millions of dollars in a lucrative construction management
contracts. Pacifica Services, Inc. sub-contracts all the work out to engineering companies to actually
perform the work. By all accounts, the contracted work is done competently.
George Cole and Bob Apodaca recently discovered that Olga Gonzalez a co-board member had moved out
of the district she represented. Olga Gonzalez allegedly was black-mailed into resigning under threat of
exposure to the D.A. So that George Cole, Bob Apodaca and Phillip D. Hawkins could appoint their choice
to replace Cole as new board member.
The board conspired to postpone Arturo Chacon's installation in order to allow themselves enough time to
pull some tricks and appoint the vacant board seat.
Several tricks and highly questionable procedures were deployed in order to avoid public participation and
On November 22, 2006, through a press release posted on an obscure page of Central Basin's web site,
the board announced the new board "Vacancy". The posting allowed a very small window of opportunity
for potential applicants to respond.
Despite the intended obfuscation, a few lucky and resourceful folks evidently managed to find and
respond to the press release within the short time frame. Among the interested for the vacant Water
Board seat was a certain Rudy Montalvo.
Turns out, after some questioning, Rudy Montalvo proved to be the least knowledgeable and least
qualified, yet the board voted him as the new Director of Div.IV on December 19, 2006 to replace Olga
More curiously, and highly suspect, Rudy Montalvo is George Cole's employee at the Oldtimers Foundation.
The clear conflict of interest and total disregard for the democratic process raises some questions about
George Cole's hidden agenda and his evident blatant and total disregard for the democratic process and
greater public benefit.
One clue to Cole's agenda: In 2006, the Central Basin Water District Board of Directors, Cole among them,
voted to extend a contract to the Oldtimers Foundation in Huntington Park (George is it's Executive
Director) for the distribution of low-flush toilets in District III. The contract is worth $700,000.
The recently elected board member Arturo Chacon was excluded from participating in the selection of the
vacant board seat and George Cole who will no longer have to do anything with the board, gets to hand
pick his successor to guarantee future contracts?
On January 3, 2007 the board, under public pressure, held a swearing-in ceremony for Mr. Arturo Chacon
as the new Director for Div III. George Cole was notably absent. His hand-picked successor and employee
Mr. Rudy Montalvo will be sworn on January 4 or 5, 2007.
George Cole and cronies got their Christmas wish. If can't win an election, steal it!
The Oldtimers Foundation is a private non-profit 501(c)3, and evidently is well connected politically.
Campaign contributions made by Cole and others from the Oldtimers Foundation make their way into the
campaign coffers of local neighboring cities and quite coincidentally, million dollar contracts make their way
back to the Oldtimers Foundation. Just ask John Noguez, Huntington Park's mayor.
When as Huntington Park's Mayor, Juan "John" Noguez voted to award a nearly $4 million transportation
contract to George Cole's Oldtimers Foundation/Fiesta Taxi team, then gave him a cool $100,000 for start-
up capital to fulfill the term of the contract.
So how was it that George Cole managed to get Huntington Park's nearly $4 million transportation
contract against such odds when he was rated least competent out of four bidders?
To get a clue, in an eerily similar case, Federal prosecutors convicted Keith McDonald, Director of the West
Basin Municipal Water District in the nearby city of Carson on corruption charges for bribing Carson council
members in a scheme to get a $6 million bus transportation contract (click here to see press release from
the Department of Justice regarding the conviction).
Federal prosecutors alleged that McDonald was "engaged in several corrupt activities". And "Specifically:"
• That he paid three members of the Carson City Council $5,000 each in exchange for their votes in favor
of a $6 million public bus service contract;
• "That he demanded and received $30,000 in kickbacks in exchange for his support on a $3 million
pipeline project; and
• "That he solicited a $50,000 contribution to his California State Assembly campaign in exchange for his
support of an expanded political consulting contract."
The DOJ's press release further states: "McDonald did not directly accept the proceeds of his corrupt
activities; rather, he funneled the funds through companies controlled by associates or other third parties.
McDonald then fraudulently declared, under penalty of perjury in publicly filed documents, that he was
employed as a salaried consultant for these companies, when in fact he merely routed his corruption
proceeds through these businesses."
Central Basin's Press Release for the board vacancy cites "Government Code Section 1780", yet they
blatantly disregard it; it clearly states: "The district shall notify the county elections official of the vacancy
no later than 15 days following either the date on which the district board is notified of the vacancy or the
effective date of the vacancy, whichever is later".
Keep your eye on the ball, here folks. Key words: "WHICHEVER IS LATER" Effective date of OLGA
GONZALEZ's vacancy had not happened when the Board met on Dec. 19 to select a successor, therefore
the appointment of Mr. Montalvo is ILLEGAL!!!
A COPY OF THE PRESS RELEASE.
(Editor's note: The board's agendas 2006 have mysteriously disappeared from the Central Basin's
website, when they were posted not more than a month ago).
"Carson, CA – Effective February 28, 2007, the Division IV seat will become vacant on the Central Basin
Municipal Water District Board of Directors.
For Immediate Release
November 22, 2006
Notice of Vacancy on Board of Directors
Carson, CA – Effective February 28, 2007, the Division IV seat will become vacant on the Central Basin
Municipal Water District Board of Directors.
Division IV includes the cities of Lynwood, South Gate, portions of Cudahy, Carson, Florence-Graham and
Willowbrook. A detailed map of the division boundaries and zip codes can be obtained from the District's
In accordance with the provisions of Government Code Section 1780, the Board of Directors is seeking to
fill the vacancy by appointment. Interested and qualified residents of Division IV must submit a letter of
interest and a résumé that includes a statement of qualifications and other information that will assist the
Board in making a decision. Résumés and letters of interest should be directed to Margarita Gómez, Board
Secretary. Please submit all materials to:
Central Basin Municipal Water District
17140 South Avalon Blvd., Suite 300 Carson, CA 90746-1296
All materials must be received by December 8, 2006 at 3:00 p.m.
Applicants will be notified by District staff if selected by the Board for an interview. The Board will
deliberate at the December 19, 2006 Board Meeting.
For more information about Central Basin Municipal Water District, please visit Central Basin's web site at
|Watch Southeast Mayors