Facing attorney general’s lawsuit, Wapato official resigns

WAPATO, Wash. (AP) — A city official in Wapato has resigned following allegations that he used his former position as mayor to enrich himself.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the official, Juan Orozco, in June for violating ethics and open meetings laws. Orozco agreed to resign Friday, to forfeit his severance pay, and to pay a $500 ethics fine to settle the lawsuit.

Ferguson’s lawsuit was based on an investigation by the state auditor’s office, which found that as mayor, Orozco directed the city attorney to write legislation creating a new city administrator position with a generous salary of $95,000 and a guaranteed seven years of pay. That was later reduced to nine months of severance.

The city council adopted it in a meeting without proper notice last year. Orozco then immediately resigned; Councilmember Dora Alvarez-Roa was named as mayor; and without discussion, she appointed Orozco to the new city administrator job.