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Fired city manager George Perez sues Cudahy for $400,000

March 6, 2012 | 12:39 pm

Perez

George Perez, the controversial city manager of Cudahy who was fired unexpectedly after 11 years on the job, has sued the city for breach of contract, saying he is owed nearly $400,000 plus interest and attorney’s fees.

According to his contract, unless he was convicted of a felony for personal gain, he was supposed to be paid 18 months' salary even if he was fired, in addition to accrued vacation and sick time, the lawsuit says.

The suit, filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, says he is owed $322,998 in compensation, $72,000 in retirement contributions and $4,261 in vacation and sick leave pay.

City Council members have refused to comment on why Perez, 52, was fired.

While serving as city manager, a job that paid more than $200,000 a year, Perez also sat on the board of the Tract 180 Water Co., a small private utility that sells water to Cudahy, where he was paid $23,580 a year.

Cudahy is located Southeast Los Angeles County, adjacent to Bell.

Perez began his career in Cudahy as a city janitor and was later elected to the City Council. He had no administrative experience nor a college degree when his colleagues appointed him city manager in 2000.

The L.A. County district attorney's office investigated Perez's hiring but no charges were filed.

While Perez was city manager, Cudahy bungled an opportunity to expand one of its few parks by failing to account for the upfront portion of a $2.5-million state park grant. After several years, the state demanded that the money be returned. Assemblyman Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) saved the project by getting an extension.

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--Jeff Gottlieb

Photo: George Perez in 2006 when he was Cudahy city manager. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times

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