Friday, January 23, 2015

Foundation Liquid(ated) By Board Member

by Gary Snyder


Ronald Craig Smith was on the West Basin Municipal Water District (in Los Angeles) board of directors. 

Smith pleaded guilty Sept. 8 to one count of conflict of interest, and submitted his resignation to the water district as a condition of his plea deal. He was sentenced to 180 days in county jail and five years probation, and was ordered to pay more than $17,000 in restitution to the water district. 

Smith got the water district’s board to make multiple contributions to help sponsor the Adopt A Storm Drain Foundation, a nonprofit educational foundation to promote water conservation. Smith also contributed money from his district outreach fund that did not require board approval.


Prosecutors allege that checks were written from foundation accounts to schools and organizations without any connection to the foundation shortly after receiving the donations from the West Basin Municipal Water District. The money allegedly went toward tuition for Smith’s son and two daughters, along with a $3,500 check to repair his boat.


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