Monrovia City Manager, Oliver Chi, found himself in the hot seat amid allegations of illegal sewage dumping and missing grant monies.
During the Monrovia City Council Meeting this week, the two most controversial topics discussed were the alleged sewage dumping near the city’s main water well field and several grants unaccounted for by the city.
Despite the concerns over the potential sewage contamination, City Manger Chi reassured the City Council and citizens present that the city’s water was safe to consume. Chi stated that the water supply has been tested and will continue to be tested to monitor the water’s safety. He made no mention as to who was testing the water supply or the costs involved.
The other hot topic was the loss of money from several grants supposedly awarded to the City of Monrovia. There were three grants in question estimated at about $4.6 million dollars. The grants were slated for projects such as repairing the Historic Santa Fe Depot, improving the Old Town Shopping District, and for improvements along Huntington Drive.
Both Chi and mayor Mary Ann Lutz said the uncertainty of the Gold Line’s development in 2002 contributed to the loss of one of the grants intended for the repairs of the the Santa Fe Depot. With regards to the other missing grants, the city stated that a previous city employee had falsified reports causing the city to lose out on those monies. Although the City Attorney claims the city employee was later fired and criminally charged, no reports have been found or provided of the employee’s wrongdoing.
After being confronted by Council Member Tom Adams, City Manager Chi conceded that regardless of the circumstances, the city had lost the funds in question. Council Member Alexander Blackburn pointed out that if the city had done its due diligence with filing the necessary paperwork and complied with the terms of the grant, the city would not have lost the grant money in question.