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Poseidon disputes activist's claim

Company behind proposed H.B. desalination plant says water official's wife did not consult or receive payments.

April 04, 2012|By Mona Shadia

Poseidon Resources officials are protesting a local activist's complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission, saying the company has not used or paid a consultant named in the complaint.

Merle Moshiri, the president of Residents for Responsible Desalination, filed a complaint in March against John Foley, the board chairman of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

Moshiri claims Foley neglected to report more than $600,000 in income that his wife, Mary Jane Foley, received from consulting she did for private and public water companies, including Poseidon.

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But in a letter to the FPPC, Poseidon Vice President Scott Maloni said Mary Jane Foley has not worked for his company.

"Contrary to Ms. Moshiri's allegations in her signed, sworn complaint form, Poseidon has never contracted with Mary Jane Foley (MJF Consulting)," Maloni said in the letter. "Furthermore, Poseidon's accounting department has neither a record of receiving an invoice for professional consulting services from Mary Jane Foley, nor any record of payment to Ms. Foley."

Moshiri said Mary Jane Foley has indirectly done work for Poseidon. However, she didn't provide evidence.

The complaint, Moshiri said, is not about who paid Mary Jane Foley. It's about money John Foley's wife has received from the water industry.

"We're looking at money that was unreported, and that's what the FPPC complaint was about," Moshiri said. "When I saw the letter, I thought, 'That's what friends are for.' It was very nice of them (Poseidon) to write the letter, and I think it was disingenuous."

Meanwhile, the FPPC has not made a decision yet on whether to investigate Moshiri's complaint, said spokeswoman Tara Stock.

John Foley has declined to comment, but said in a statement that he and his wife keep their finances separate and that he didn't think he needed to report her income.

He also said he didn't think he needed to recuse himself from voting on matters between Metropolitan and firms his wife consults with, but said that he would in the future.

"We didn't expect to be able to file the complaint and not expect some retaliation," Moshiri said. "That's natural. We just have to wait for the process that was created for people like you and me."

mona.shadia@latimes.com

Twitter: @MonaShadia

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