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Water Execs Caught on Cam Spending Ratepayer Money

Water Execs Caught on Cam Spending Ratepayer Money

metro-water-district.jpgIn the past six years, the price of water has gone up nearly 70%. Yes, water. It’s the most abundant substance on the face of the Earth, and we’re paying 70% more for it than we used to. However, a recent hidden camera investigation found that when water executives have their monthly two-day meeting, they spend large amounts of money on unnecessary perks. They’re having the times of their lives, and we’re paying for it.

The hidden cameras were on the scene to capture three directors of the Metropolitan Water District, based in Los Angeles, drinking wine and toasting over their very expensive dinner; all this partying and celebration just days after the water rates increased again for the 6th year in a row.

Downtown L.A. is known for its high standard of living, with many celebrities, corporate executives, and others living up the high life. That is where you could find the water executives at their hotel and eating their meals. Some of the charges of this fun went to the ratepayers, AKA us.

James Blake, the representative of Fullerton, was one of the executives there that night. His receipts show that Blake stays at the Downtown Marriott, one of the most lavish hotel chains in the world, nearly every month for the meeting instead of driving home.

The receipts for the other directors were apparently no different, with each director treating himself to downtown hotels, expensive meals, perks, and more. John Foley, chairman of the board of the Metropolitan Water District, was also treating himself using ratepayer money. He was caught on camera during the big toast at dinner.

Earlier in the day, a hidden camera also caught him checking in to the Downtown Marriot instead of driving home to Laguna Nigel. He was greeted by a bartender upon his arrival, who offered him a glass of wine. Foley gladly accepted, and his receipt also shows a lounge charge.

The Metropolitan Water District is a government agency that supplies water for much of the Southern California area, including the entire city of L.A., as well as 26 other cities and districts.

Over the past six years, rates for water have gone up nearly 70 percent in this area. And at this meeting, the executives discussed the possibility of raising the prices again next year. The whole purpose of the hidden camera investigation was to explore how the executives were spending this surplus of money. Receipts were obtained of several executive employees over a period of 20 months.
As it turns out, executive employees had spent over a million dollars during this time period on lavish expenses and treating themselves.

From January 2010 through August 2011, it broke down to more than $828,154 in airfare, $193,045 in hotels, and $56,474 in meals.

On the receipts were ridiculous charges like a $599-a-night hotel room in Washington DC; dinners including expensive NY strip steak, rack of lamb and Maine lobster; car service charges; and even a helicopter rental.

There were also other perks, such as $16 hotel in-room movies and mini bar charges for everything from M&M’s to bottled water.

Does anyone else see the irony of water executives overpaying for bottled water using ratepayer money?

AUTHOR - Carlos Reyes

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