Trial for County Exec’s Wrongful Termination Suit Set for Next January

With the sex crimes case against former Orange County Public Works executive Carlos Bustamante finally over, Bustamante’s boss, former Public Works Director Jess Carbajal, got his own trial date.

The jury trial in Carbajal’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the county has been scheduled for January 9, 2017.

Carbajal argues supervisors improperly forced his firing in July 2012 to help quash a brewing political firestorm that threatened to uncover their own mismanagement of sexual assault allegations against Bustamante, who was sentenced to one year in jail last month. 

The trial was delayed as many of the documents needed for Carbajal’s case were under seal by the Orange County District Attorney’s office until Bustamante’s case was closed.

The trial is expected to last 7 to 10 days, according to minutes from a trial setting conference.

Carbajal’s attorney Michael A. Penn did not return requests for comment.

Contact Thy Vo at or follow her on Twitter @thyanhvo.

  • John Claxton

    Management are at-will employees. Nonetheless, he was one of them. He will be well taken care of. No evidence of wrong doing will come forth. A big check will be written. The VOC will sue the county for the details. Round 2 begins.

  • OCservant_Leader

    This case will NEVER see the light of day. He will get a nice check.

    If his testimony were to go public, it would expose the “pattern” of the OC’s illegal handling of sexual harassment claims. Could open up a class action law suit.

    Sexual harassment is about the abuse of power. Appointees & family members abuse of power is rampant.

    What about his boss Drako? Did she already get paid?

    I wish one of the crew would flip and expose the OC Mafia=RICO.

    • LFOldTimer

      The real injustice is that after the case is settled all the evidence is buried from the public’s view and the settlement agreement puts a gag order on the plaintiff. The OC taxpayers are handed the settlement invoice yet remain clueless over the reasons for their payment. That would never happen in a free and just society.

  • Jacki Livingston

    I hope Carbajal wins. I really, really do. I think he likely did wrong, but so did the rest of them. County officials have been covering up the sexual misconduct of high ranking playa-playas in all of the agencies, for decades. The more sleazy and depraved you are, the faster you rise through the ranks. I can think of one very high ranking SSA manager who got caught with his pants down in the parking lot, in his office, and with his hand on a subordinate’s behind in photographs, and nothing was done to him. In fact, he made a meteoric rise, despite being violent, abusive and downright disgusting. I would love to see the officials for the County explain away their selective enforcement. Hey, Jess, send your lawyer my way, I have lots of stuff he can use.

  • LFOldTimer

    IMO 1 to 1 odds the county settles this out of court so the BoS and their accomplices save face so it won’t harm their future political careers. Just like in the cop wrongful civil actions that are settled out of court – all the evidence gets buried. The taxpayers get soaked without even knowing why. Wait for it.

  • Paul Lucas

    Everyone involved in that scandal earned termination. Mos of them by dereliction of their fiduciary duty.

  • David Zenger

    In the Spring of 2011 Carbajal told Bustamante’s HR underling in the Public Works Admin section to investigate the sexual harrassment accusations against – Bustamante. And naturally there was no investigation.

    Case closed.

    However, it will be fun to watch him try to throw that rat on Drakodaidas and Mauk.