Compton Official Suspended After Accusations of Paying Supporters at Town Hall

The general manager of a small public agency under fire for delivering brown, smelly water to parts of Compton and Willowbrook has been placed on administrative leave, the water district board’s attorney announced June 21, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Maria Rachelle Garza, general manager of the Sativa Los Angeles County Water District, was suspended days after The Times reported allegations that she hired people to pose as supporters and attend Nanette Diaz Barragán’s congressional town hall regarding complaints of dirty water.

Garza and the district have denied that they paid people to attend the town hall.

Cole Edwards said in an interview that Sativa hired him to place a Craigslist ad and find paid supporters. Text messages between Edwards and Garza revealed a list of questions for “supporters” to ask and the plan to hide the district’s involvement.

In 2013, there were allegations of poor financial oversight and management at the district, including that the board members had awarded themselves bereavement pay and Christmas bonuses not allowed under state law. (Source: Los Angeles Times, June 21.)

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