After Long Saga, Deputy CEO Fired

Alisa Drakodaidis (p)

Former Orange County Deputy CEO Alisa Drakodaidis. (Photo credit: County of Orange)

Alisa Drakodaidis, a beleaguered Orange County deputy CEO who went underground last year after sexual assault charges were filed against a top executive under her supervision, has now apparently been fired.

“All I can say is she’s no longer with the county,” said county spokesman Howard Sutter on Monday.

Drakodaidis placed herself on a stress medical leave last year just after District Attorney Tony Rackauckas filed a dozen felony sex charges against county Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante, who was also a Santa Ana city councilman and rising star in the local Republican Party.

As with much of the controversy that has ensued since Bustamante's arrest — including the resignations of CEO Tom Mauk and Public Works Director Jess Carbajal — officials have kept Drakodaidis’ status largely quiet.

Just after her quiet exit from the county Hall of Administration, Drakodaidis sent a politically explosive letter to the county that resembled a legal claim. The letter leveled a series of accusations of Rackauckas and several county supervisors, including specific allegations of impropriety against Supervisor Pat Bates.

Bates said that Drakodaidis’ allegations against her were unfounded, and supervisors then hired a law firm to investigate the accusations.

After Voice of OC filed a lawsuit against the county to reveal the Drakodaidis letter, county officials released a redacted version.

The Voice of OC lawsuit — which seeks access to numerous law firm investigations and communications into alleged impropriety by top county officials — is still active, and supervisors are scheduled to discuss it Tuesday in closed session.

Since the Bustamante charges were announced, nearly a half-dozen top officials have been quietly investigated by law firms hired by the county for a variety of allegations.

While the law firm investigated her claims, county officials put Drakodaidis on paid administrative leave after her stress leave ran out in September.

On Monday, attorney Joel Baruch, who represents Drakodaidis, said she had spoken up to senior officials about a series of situations at the county and was a whistle-blower. “She was fired for retaliation,” Baruch said.

Drakodaidis “was a good employee,” and “there’s no reason for them to fire her other than her complaints,” Baruch said. He added he expects to file a claim against the county.

County Supervisor John Moorlach was the only official to speak about the Drakodaidis situation: “She was terminated. She cleaned out her office. The investigation found that what she claimed was unfounded.”

Moorlach went on to say that he had not seen the report, “but the attorney that investigated did an incredible amount of interviews, including me, and asked a whole lot of questions. We even had to increase her contract amount.”

Moorlach questioned Drakodaidis' motive for filing a claim in the wake of the Bustamante charges. She was herself criticized in a review of Public Works.

“When someone sees that they’re in the chain of command and there were serious managerial lapses, maybe you do certain things as a strategy,” Moorlach said.

Baruch said the investigation by the law firm was not credible.

“The investigation wasn’t an independent investigation,” Baruch said. “The lawyer was paid by the county.”

Please contact Norberto Santana Jr. directly at nsantana@voiceofoc.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/norbertosanana.

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