John Covington: Working for Morongo Tribe While Holding Water District Board Seat
Conflict of Interest Laws – Government Officials Owe Paramount Loyalty to the Public.
A Public Records’ Request for all Communication to/from the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District Board Members has uncovered what many in the Pass Area had long suspected; John Covington is working for the Morongo Tribe while conducting Water District business.
The letter below was sent by the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District’s Lawyer:
“Additionally, communications from Board Member Covington’s personal communication device are not being provided for the following reason.
The personal communications device used by Board Member Covington to send and receive any communications pertaining to the District, is provided and owned by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians (“Morongo”).
Morongo has taken the position in a letter to Board Member Covington dated March 14, 2017, that all communications stored on Morongo server(s) belong to Morongo and are not subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act. A copy of that letter is included in the attached PDF.”
P.O. Box 1059
1 Civic Center Cl. 2nd Fl.
Brea, California 92821
Tel. 714.990.0901 ext. 503
#1: The Tribe’s cell phone is not a ‘personal devise’ – it’s a business phone.
#2: Covington is not just using the Tribe’s Telephone – he’s using his Tribal Email Address to conduct the People’s Business – [email protected]. All of Covington’s communication as a Water District Director is the property of the Tribe, not the People of the State of California.
#3: There are no Laws that allow Covington to hide his Public Records because he uses his job’s email address and cell phone. But there are many laws against Conflict of Interest.
California Government Code 87100: “No public official at any level of state or local government shall make, participate in making or in any way attempt to use his official position to influence a governmental decision in which he knows or has reason to know he has a financial interest.”
John Covington is the Water/Sewer Manager for the Morongo Tribe. On Covington’s 700 Form he listed his job title as ‘Administrator’, but Covington’s Stationary lists his job title as ‘Water Department Manager-Reservation Services Administrator’.
Covington failed to disclose that he was the ‘Administrator’ of the Tribe’s Water, Beaumont-Cherry Valley Water District’s competition.
In a letter dated March 14, 2017 Tribal Counsel Kimberly Cluff verifies that all John Covington’s communication while sitting BCVWD Board Member is property of the Tribe and the Water District is considered a “third party”.
The City of Beaumont and the Morongo Tribe are the only two Sewer Plants that are operated by ‘Utility Partners’, which used to be called ‘Aquarion’, which used to be called ‘Urban Logic Services’, which used to be called ‘Urban Logic Consultants’.
Covington and the City of Beaumont have been lying to the Morongo Tribe for many years about the promise of ‘Recycled Water’.
At the November 2, 2016 Workshop Morongo Tribe Chairman Robert Martin made a fool of himself by declaring that the Tribe had an Agreement with Beaumont for their Recycled Water and the Tribe wanted the Recycled Water by December, 31, 2016.
John Covington has a financial interest in using his position as a Beaumont-Cherry Valley Board Member to continue to defraud the Morongo Tribe into thinking they’re going to get Recycled Water from the City.
Beaumont, Covington, and Utility Partners knows Beaumont has no Recycled Water and never will because Beaumont STOLE ALL THE MONEY AND NEVER BUILT THE FACILITY.
John Covington’s 2016 700 Form also revealed that Covington neglected to include his Wife Janet Covington’s income from the Beaumont-Cherry Valley Parks and Recreation District.
Beaumont City Council Workshop Transcript November 2, 2016
2:05:00 Chairman Robert Martin from the Morongo Tribe: As one of the City’s largest landowners with more than 500 acres and a regional business owner with over 500 employees who are Beaumont Residents; Morongo has a vested interest in working with each of you so that together we can bring jobs, prosperity, and environmental stewardship to the City of Beaumont. That’s why we’ve been working with the City for the past five years on an Agreement to use Recycled Water on our Golf Courses instead of potable water. In this time of drought; it’s clearly the right thing to do from an environmental perspective. In fact, golf courses and others across the Coachella Valley and Southern California are making the switch from potable water to recycled water. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to visit Tukwet Golf Course, but you’ll notice there are a lot of brown areas. The reason for that is because we cut back 25% on watering.
2:06:00 Martin: That was a goal that the Governor set and we were able to meet it, but that hasn’t effected the Course. As I understand it; the choice before Council this week is to either keep control of your own wastewater treatment or pay approximately double and hand over control to another Agency. Not only do I think the first option is better for Beaumont and the Taxpayers, but from Morongo’s perspective; we have a longer history and working relationship with Beaumont and would prefer to work directly with you. If the Council decides to keep its treatment plant, and Morongo hopes you do, then we would like to respectfully request the Council directly City Staff to complete the Agreement we have been working on with you for the last five years by the end of this year; replacing potable water with recycled water.
2:07:00 Martin: We strongly believe it’s in the best interest of the City, Morongo, and the Public. It’s been done in other communities. It’s cost effective and more importantly; it’s the right thing to do to protect potable water. That’s a precious resource.