lawsuit filed by the City of Oroville against the Department of
Water Resources (DWR) accuses the agency responsible for the
Oroville Dam of 20 years of corruption including racism, sexual
harassment and a disregard for public safety.
attorneys that represent the City of Oroville gathered on the
steps of Oroville City Hall to highlight the problems they see in
the water management agency.
city is outraged at the evidence you are going to see at the
intimidation, the discrimination of women, of people of color, and
of the mismanagement of the entire department," said Carolyn Frank
an attorney with the city attorney's office.
an 800 page complaint attorneys highlighted a culture of cronyism.
The attorneys mentioned a noose they believe was used to
intimidate an African American employee. They said engineers came
forward with complaints but wanted to remain anonymous so they
wouldn't lose their pensions. They said one woman feared for her
life because she was talking to the lawyers.
the people of Oroville and this county, Butte County, talk about
the "mafia water companies" that's exactly what they were," said
attorney Joe Cotchett. "They thought they were the mafia. They
could get away with anything."
of all these complaints, the attorneys highlight the amount of
money lost from the Oroville Dam failure. Cotchett said DWR puts
profit before safety and could have prevented the dam failure.
can have a natural situation where devastation is a result of an
act of God," Cotchett said. "That isn't what happened here."
said taxpayers are spending half a billion dollars to repair the
listed all the other expenses the dam failure caused. In February
of 2017, 188,000 people were forced to evacuate when water began
pouring over the emergency spillway.
costs that were associated with lost revenue from the evacuations,
the costs associated with assisting people with evacuations,"
Frank said. "The lost sales tax and revenue that would have
happened if there would have been people within the city but they
were forced to evacuate. All of the safety personnel were working
around the clock incurring massive amounts of overtime."
said this is only the beginning. He said next week local farmers
will begin filing individual lawsuits. They believe some of the
ranchers had 30 to 40 million dollars in losses.
News Channel 7 contacted DWR for a response to these claims and
have not yet gotten a reply.