Judge vows to send Orange County official to prison
A public works director used his position to rake in millions while he drove an Orange County city close to bankruptcy. The transportation chief oversaw a $650-million plan rail project as Placentia’s public works director while simultaneously earning a lucrative salary as a consultant on the rail project, Becker’s original consulting contract guaranteed him $4.5 million over 10 years, or $450,000 annually, which made him one of the highest paid transportation officials in the country. He was hired without competitive bids as OnTrac’s executive director in April 2000, the same month the project was created. To help pay for the project, city leaders drained reserve accounts, cut programs, auctioned off parkland, sold bonds and once considered eliminating Placentia’s police force to save money.
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