Denis Bilodeau, director of the Orange County Water District, has charged the district $1,230 in meeting fees and mileage since 2010 for at least five meetings that district records show he didn’t attend, according to the OC Weekly.
The Weekly’s report follows a 2010 Voice of OC investigation that found he billed the water agency nearly $3,500 between 2001 and 2007 for meetings he either didn’t attend or that didn’t occur, according to official district records.
At the time, Bilodeau, who is chief of staff to Supervisor Shawn Nelson and a member of the Orange City Council, said he does not keep his own records of attendance and if mistakes were made, they are the fault of the water district staff.
This time district spokeswoman Eleanor Torres told OC Weekly that Bilodeau is allowed to collect payments for up to 10 meetings a month and that a mistake in reporting was possible.
From OC Weekly:
Mistakes or not, Bilodeau also accepted stipends for meetings of dubious public value, most notably a dinner held by the OC Tax Payers Association at the luxurious Island Hotel in Newport Beach. For those who don’t know, OC Tax sponsors a political action committee and is chaired by Republican public relations consultant Curt Pringle. The committee donates thousands of dollars to benefit local candidates it likes, and smears the ones it doesn’t. You’ve got to wonder what that has to do with water.
But perhaps most unsettling to supporters of open government, were the 14 secret executive committee meetings held outside OCWD’s Fountain Valley office that included directors Bilodeau, Stephen Sheldon, Wes Bannister, and Philip Anthony. Multiple expense reports indicate the meetings took place at Director Sheldon’s Newport Beach office where he operates a PR firm.