MOORLACH UPDATE — False Claims Victory — April 6, 2018

The OC Register piece below proves that sometimes justice does prevail.

I was the Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors in 2012 when I dealt with sexual harassment concerns of a very significant nature. A by-product was a nuisance suit filed by a former County senior executive.

Then-CEO Tom Mauk elected to handle the Bustamante matter in a unique way, by quietly asking the perpetrator to leave with the incentive of a severance package and the hope of keeping everything quite, which backfired. Consequently, Mauk and two of his key managers, an Assistant CEO and a Department Head, were shown the door.

I had informed Tom Mauk for more than a year he had a problem Assistant CEO in Alisa Drakodaidis. An investigatory report I requested would prove my concerns. Her management style was atrocious and would end up costing the County significantly. Then, when the Bustamante scandal finally broke, she claimed that she was all over it. But, as a manager she failed to inform the County’s EEO Officer. And, claiming that she informed me was untrue. With these inaccurate claims and missteps, she sued the County.

It is a relief a jury concurred with my recollection of events, which were chronicled in my UPDATEs. For a little history on the plaintiff and the turmoil that I enjoyed five years ago, here are a few links to my UPDATEs that covered the matter in a factual way over that time period. I’ve provided the three most important UPDATEs first, with related ones following:

MOORLACH UPDATE — Covered California — October 2, 2013

MOORLACH UPDATE — Fire Rings — April 24, 2013

MOORLACH UPDATE — Newport Beach-CdM Patch — July 24, 2012

MOORLACH UPDATE — Laws, Contracts and Costs — July 17, 2014

MOORLACH UPDATE — Walter D. Ehlers Day — May 7, 2014

MOORLACH UPDATE — Hiking High — May 2, 2013

MOORLACH UPDATE — Hall of Administration — October 8, 2012

MOORLACH UPDATE — Passion and Punches — September 21, 2012

MOORLACH UPDATE — LA Times — July 28, 2012

MOORLACH UPDATE — OC CEO — July 27, 2012

MOORLACH UPDATE — Harbor Patrol — December 12, 2009

If you have the time to read all of these historical links, you’ll conclude that the court ruling was the appropriate one. You’ll also enjoy going down memory lane on various topics impacting the County of Orange at that time.

It’s nice to have closure on this sad chapter in OC history. I now have the ability to share what I’ve learned with my colleagues in Sacramento, as I now serve on the Joint Committee on Rules – Subcommittee on Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response. The Capitol, like the Hall of Administration, is not immune from human failure. Fortunately, policy changes made at the County have seen no repeat incidents. Let’s see if we can repeat this accomplishment under the Dome.

BONUS: Allow me to provide an update on five of my bills (see MOORLACH UPDATE — SB 1463 Redux — March 30, 2018). This week, SB 1159 and SB 1363 were approved in Committee. SB 1344, SB 1368, and SCA 16 were killed by the Senate Education Committee on a party line vote. I have no bills to present to committees next week, but will have two to present the following week (more on that later).

Former boss of ex-Santa Ana City Councilman Carlos Bustamante loses wrongful termination suit

By kpuente

A former Orange County Deputy CEO, who was one of three top executives forced out after a bungled sexual harassment investigation, lost her wrongful termination lawsuit against the county on Thursday.

In her lawsuit, Alisa Drakodaidis, the former boss of ex-Santa Ana city councilman and county administrator Carlos Bustamante, who was convicted of sexual harassment-related charges, claimed that she was terminated due to gender discrimination or whistle-blowing.

However, a jury on Thursday unanimously rejected the gender discrimination claim, and voted 10-1 in favor of the county on the wrongful termination and whistle-blower retaliation claim.

The jurors told lawyers in the case that they felt Drakodaidis was treated unfairly, but that county supervisors did not break the law when they fired her.

Drakodaidis filed a $10 million damage claim against the county in 2013 alleging she was fired for reporting on several legal and ethical irregularities in the county.

Among the claims, Drakodaidis said she forwarded a sexual harassment complaint against Bustamante, who was then Public Works executive manager, to then board Chairman John Moorlach in 2008 – three years before the allegations against Bustamante became public.

Moorlach later denied that he received a complaint about Bustamante from Drakodaidis in 2008 and said the county Human Resources Department did not either.

Bustamante, once a rising Republican star, was arrested in 2012 after seven female subordinates at his county job accused him of making unwanted sexual advances. He pleaded guilty in 2015 to multiple sex-related charges and was sentenced to one year in jail and lifetime sex offender registration.

– City News Service contributed to this report

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