While Orange County supervisors have largely addressed the sex crimes allegations against former county Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante as an isolated case, there are increasing indications that other top county officials face similar serious allegations.
Consider the charges leveled by Kathleen Tamilramani, who worked for the county for three decades as a Human Resources manager until she landed at Waste & Recycling under Director Mike Giancola.
Tamilramani, who has an active whistle-blower lawsuit against the county that will be discussed Tuesday by county supervisors in closed session, accuses Giancola of burying a rape allegation made against an agency and a host of illegal hiring practices.
Additionally, according to Tamilramani’s lawsuit, Giancola himself investigated the allegations of corruption against himself and settled it with the husband of the woman who had initiated the rape allegation.
According to the lawsuit, “On or about July 2010, a sexual harassment allegation was instigated and charged against a Prima Landfill supervisor by both a female employee and her husband. The husband alleged that Mike Giancola was involved in illegal activities that the husband intended to report.”
According to her lawsuit, Tamilramani reported the situation to central county Human Resources, advising officials she was not in a position to investigate her boss.
Tamilramani alleged that “the husband met with Mr. Giancola to confer about the situation, and the matter was dropped.”
After that, Tamilramani alleges, her time at Waste & Recycling was done.
“Mike Giancola covered up the issue and was angry with Plaintiff for reporting this sequence of events,” her lawsuit alleges.
County officials won’t address the specifics of Tamilramani’s allegations, citing her pending litigation. The fact that they are talking about her case in closed session, however, could signal that a settlement is near. That’s been a common approach by the county to such situations in recent times.
Bustamante was given a 90-day severance package and allowed to resign quietly. Human Resources Director Carl Crown quietly retired. Mauk was given a healthy severance of $270,000 when he resigned last month.
County supervisors Chairman John Moorlach had this to say regarding the issue in his latest email update:
The County is pursuing initiatives that will address the prevention of such incidents in the future. I want to thank my colleagues on the Board for their attention in promptly addressing the regrettable actions that occurred before we were fully aware and had been notified by Peter Hughes, the County’s Internal Audit Director. I am also appreciative of their leadership in pursuing a proper course of action to address this inappropriate behavior. The Board of Supervisors will continue to uphold the law and enforce the County’s workforce policy of “zero tolerance” for predatory activities and assure our workforce that we are serious about addressing it once reported to the proper authorities.