Water District at center of Calderon investigation suing contractor for overbilling nearly $1 million

Lawmaker Searched Water Districts

Damian Dovarganes/AP

The offices of the Central Basin Municipal Water District in Los Angeles County are seen in Commerce, Calif., in a Wednesday, June 12, 2013 photo. The state has hundreds of local water districts, which often deal with millions of dollars but operate as quasi-government entities with very little oversight or public scrutiny.

A water district that figures into an FBI investigation of state Senator Ron Calderon says it has filed suit against a contractor for overbilling it nearly $1 million.

In a statement released Thursday, the Central Basin Municipal Water District contends that Pacifica Services continued to bill it for professional services despite having no authorization to do so.

The lawsuit marks the beginning of an effort by the new management of Central Basin to change the agency’s political culture and investigate allegations of wrongdoing by the old leadership, officials told the Los Angeles Times. The Times continues:

Tony Perez, a former Metropolitan Water District engineer who was installed as the district’s new general manager in May, said he is trying to understanding how the district spent money and awarded contracts.

“The time has come and we’re holding everyone accountable for their actions at Central Basin,” board member Leticia Vasquez said in an interview. “I think it is a huge and major step forward in helping restore some accountability.”

Last month, Central Basin received a federal subpoena in connection with an investigation into Ron Calderon. Calderon's brother, Tom, is a former state Assembly member who received nearly $1 million over a 10-year period as a political consultant for the water district.

RELATED: Tracking the money flow between Central Basin Water District and Tom Calderon

Central Basin provides water for parts of Southeast L.A. County.

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