Industry City Council Fires City Attorney

The City of Industry’s newly elected council members wasted no time after being sworn in Tuesday, opting to terminate City Attorney Michele Vadon as one of their first official acts.

Vadon has held the position since 1998 and spearheaded the city’s lawsuit against former Mayor David Perez and his family amid allegations of breach of contract and public corruption. The three new council members—all of whom voted for Vadon’s termination—have ties to the Perez family. But they insist that Vadon's termination stemmed from her failure to act as a proper watchdog for the city's finances.

The council has already tapped a replacement: West Covina attorney James Casso, who helped the City of Bell steer through its own corruption scandal.

“He was called in during the Bell situation. He’s a person the DA can trust,” said newly elected City Councilman Newell Ruggles. “We wanted to bring in someone from the outside, someone that did not have any business with the city or its staff.”

Wednesday’s vote was 3 to 1 with Council Member Jeff Parriott dissenting. Vadon left the meeting in tears and refused to offer a comment on the vote.

Industry alleges that former mayor Perez and his family conspired to cheat the city out of more than $200 million using vague or erroneous invoices. An April audit by the firm KPMG found that the city had doled out more than $326 million to companies owned by Perez and his family over the past 20 years. Like the City of Bell, Industry now faces criminal investigations launched by the county District Attorney’s Office and State Controller Betty Yee.

The City Council will vote on Casso’s contract at its June 15 meeting. According to Mayor Mark Radecki, the vote will be held in open session.

Read more about Vadon’s termination and her replacement here.