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Carson Mayor Albert Robles removed from water board in conflict-of-interest lawsuit

Carson Mayor Albert Robles was honored this week for his work as director of a regional water board with the agency’s announcement Thursday that a $110-million wastewater treatment facility in Pico Rivera was being named after him.

But one day later, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced that it had prevailed in its civil lawsuit against Robles and had successfully removed him from the board of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California.

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The lawsuit alleged that holding the job of mayor and being director of the water agency at the same time was a conflict of interest and violated state law.

The positions are “incompatible under [the law] because the WRD and the City of Carson have overlapping territory, duties and responsibilities, and a clash of duties is likely to arise in the exercise of both offices simultaneously,” according to the civil complaint.

Robles, who was elected to the Carson City Council in 2013, has served on the water board since 1992. He has long maintained that there is no conflict in holding both offices.

About 150 elected officials, water agency representatives and well-wishers attended Thursday’s ceremony honoring Robles, according to a statement from the water agency.

“This is a great honor,” he said at the event, according to the statement. “I have been director for almost 26 years and for more than half that time I’ve been working to make this facility a reality.” The water recycling facility named after him is still under construction.

In January, Maywood City Councilman Sergio Calderon resigned his seat on the council to settle a lawsuit filed by Los Angeles County prosecutors also alleging that he violated state law by holding two public offices at the same time.

It was not the first time Calderon was sued for sitting on both panels at the same time. Prosecutors filed a similar lawsuit in 2008 to remove him from the Maywood council because he was already serving on the water board. Calderon resigned from his council post before the matter went to trial. He was elected again in November 2015.

12:50 p.m.: This article was updated with more information from the water agency and its honoring of Robles.

This article was originally posted at 12:30 p.m.

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