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DWP Whistleblowers: Misconduct Continued in Shadow of FBI Probe

A former LA Department of Water and Power executive has told the NBC4 I-Team that he was fired after he reported alleged wrongdoing by senior DWP executives and officials, who he accused in a legal claim of violating government contracting rules, misleading federal regulators, and retaliating against employees.

“There’s 10,000 employees with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The vast majority of those people are good, hardworking people. But there is a cancer at the top. And that cancer needs to be cut out with a scalpel,” said the former executive, who wasn’t ready Tuesday to show his name or face in an interview.

Another former DWP employee, who said she had served as an executive assistant until weeks ago, said in the same claim filed this week she was terminated after raising concerns that a DWP contract was improperly steered toward one specific company.

The LA Department of Water and Power said it had not yet reviewed the claims, but said in an emailed statement Tuesday evening both former employees had been appointed by former general manager David H. Wright, who pleaded guilty to a federal criminal charge for his role in a bribery scheme.

“We are not able to comment further on personnel matters, are unaware of any alleged wrongdoing and will respond to any allegations in the appropriate forum,” the statement said.

Last year Wright was sentenced to 6 years in federal prison following an FBI investigation that stemmed from the utility’s excessive billing troubles, in which tens of thousands of residents and businesses were mistakenly overcharged a decade ago for water and power they never used.

Wright pleaded guilty and admitted to allegations he agreed to accept a kickback and the promise of a lucrative private sector job in exchange for pushing through a no-bid, $30-million contract as part of the DWP’s response to the excessive billing problems.

Another top DWP executive, David F. Alexander, was sentenced last year to four years in prison for lying to FBI agents about a related scheme. Last week, a former top deputy LA City Attorney was sentenced to home confinement for trying to cover up the city’s efforts to manipulate ratepayer lawsuits filed over the excessive billing.

The former executive who talked with the I-Team said some of the alleged wrongdoing he observed and reported happened while the FBI was investigating the Wright and Alexander cases.

“The reality is that it hasn’t been cleaned up,” he said.

“These are integrity issues. These are issues of ratepayer money. These are public funds. I have had a long service for the public,” he said.

In deciding to file the legal claim and discuss the allegations in public — he said, “this is just the right thing to do.”

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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