Dave Zenger, until recently a senior aide to Board of Supervisors Chairman Shawn Nelson, has filed a legal claim against the county alleging that Nelson abruptly fired him after other county supervisors complained about Zenger conducting, at Nelson’s direction, numerous investigations into alleged improper use of public funds, according to the Voice of OC.
Zenger is alleging that he was fired for being a whistleblower, but Nelson Nelson disputed that Zenger was fired because he was a whistleblower instead saying he was insubordinate and disrespectful.
I believe Zenger. He is a very honest guy and he might well have been the only honest man at the County’s Hall of Administration. I was amazed that Nelson hired him as good guys like Zenger don’t generally get such jobs in our corrupt County. Zenger worked hard to get Nelson elected, back in the good old days when Tony Bushalla was kicking butt over at the Friends for Fullerton’s Future blog.
Zenger’s attorney, Steven Dial, who also represents county Human Resources manager Kathleen Tahilramani in another whistleblower lawsuit against the county, had this to say about Zenger’s claims:
“Mr. Zenger was demonstrably terminated in retaliation for Mr. Zenger’s conscientious inquiries and investigations into questionable or possibly illegal schemes, projects and activities by county personnel. These projects were initiated and directed by Supervisor Nelson as well as Supervisors [Janet] Nguyen and [Pat] Bates, and often featured the involvement of lobbyist Ruby Wood. These same individuals, as a result of Mr. Zenger’s conscientious inquiries into possible wrongdoing, conspired among themselves and pressured Supervisor Nelson in particular to terminate Mr. Zenger in retaliation for his protected activity,” reads the June 6 claim letter.
I am always happy to believe that Janet Nguyen is dirty and corrupt, so it is no surprise to see her name mentioned by Zenger. As for Bates, check out these excerpts about a project in her district, from another Voice of OC article:
Orange County supervisors on Tuesday approved a $4.7-million, five-year extension of a controversial contract to oversee the massive revitalization of Dana Point Harbor, a project that’s long been mired in controversy and delays.
Under a 2003 project management contract that has been extended five times, Project Dimensions Inc. (PDI) has been paid an average of $834,000 each year so far. With this week’s approval, it will now receive as much as $1 million annually to manage the project.
According to county records, the contract was originally for $7 million and scheduled to expire in 2008. It is now for $13.2 million and set to end in 2018.
Accusations flew at Tuesday’s meeting that county officials turned a blind eye to incompetence by PDI that allegedly cost thousands of dollars.
Bruce Heyman, president of Boaters for Dana Point Harbor, told supervisors that PDI submitted a land use plan to the California Coastal Commission that wasn’t formatted correctly.
This is of course the project that got Zenger into hot water – and he was absolutely correct to finger Bates.
I hope Zenger takes the Supervisors to the cleaners! And now at least we all know that we can’t trust Nelson any more than we can trust Bates or Nguyen. They are all compromised.