Embattled Laguna Niguel mayor hits back with claims of city overspending and ‘malfeasance’ – Orange County Register

LAGUNA NIGUEL A week after the City Council voted to launch an investigation into Mayor Jerry Slusiewicz over allegations of bullying staff members and seeking favors for his council position, the council will hear a report about the city contract that sparked the mayor’s claims of city overspending and cover-ups.

Slusiewicz contends the move to strip him of the mayorship is an effort by the council and city staff to protect former City Manager Rod Foster, whom Slusiewicz claims is responsible for the city overpaying tree-trimming contractor West Coast Arborists by $409,694 over two years.

He said council members want to “bury” a draft audit report of city purchasing procedures that he said reveals evidence of malfeasance, through the city’s contracts and payments to West Coast Arborists.

“They want to have a vote to take my mayorship away, and they’re going to do it anyway and ask forgiveness later once the audit comes out,” Slusiewicz said Thursday.

That action follows a July 24 special meeting where council members voted 4-1, with Slusiewicz opposed, to bring in outside counsel to investigate allegations from Foster and others that the mayor bullied staff and administrators, threatened the director of a community theater to get his daughter a part in a play and demanded a discount on carpet because of his city position.

The council scheduled an Aug. 7 meeting to hear the results of the investigation and to discuss removing the mayor.

On Tuesday night, the council is expected to hear a…

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