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Mystery over D.A. investigation into Oxnard city affairs

August 16, 2010 |  6:01 pm

Oxnard officials Monday said they were still trying to piece together exactly what led to a raid of city offices by FBI agents and investigators from the Ventura County district attorney’s office.

In a search of Oxnard City Hall that started Friday afternoon and lasted well into the night, investigators went from office to office, seizing "several boxes of documents and materials,’’ according to a terse city news release. Officials have "limited information regarding the scope of the investigation,’’ the statement said. Sources said the probe may have been triggered by allegations of misspending on a massive city water project that is partially funded by the federal government.

"I don’t know its genesis,’’ said City Councilman Andres Herrera, “but most everything points to that.” Herrera said investigators interviewed him the day before the raid.

At their request, he wouldn’t disclose what they asked. He said numerous other officials also were quizzed. 

The city has been roiled by disputes over the $250-million project known as GREAT – the Groundwater Recovery Enhancement and Treatment program.

Public works Director Ken Ortega angrily left his post in June after being publicly criticized for cost overruns and spending more than $20,000 in city funds on a grand opening party for one phase of the water project.

-- Steve Chawkins in Ventura