This weekend I reported on Leon Garcia, a water official who also serves as a political consultant. The story was prompted after a review of Garcia’s economic interest form, which is required to be filled out by all elected officials. The full story is here. Below is an excerpt:
As a political consultant, Leon Garcia earns $133,000 a year from Central and West Basin Municipal Water Districts and Rio Hondo Community College.
Garcia, the CEO and sole employee of Southwest Management Consultants, is also president of the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District, a post for which he is paid nearly $25,000 a year.
Experts and observers say that while there’s no clear legal conflict of interest, the dual roles certainly create the potential for it.
Garcia says he’s sensitive to such concerns and careful to keep his roles separate.
“I’m not a rich man, but I would be willing to give up my contracts if there was a conflict,” Garcia said. “When I was appointed, I asked the attorney, and he said there is no conflict.”
A review of Garcia’s expense records and financial statements shows that ratepayers have been charged for meals, mileage and meetings between Garcia and his consulting clients.