David Wright has stepped down as General Manager of LA Department of Water and Power

David Wright has stepped down as General Manager of LA Department of Water and Power

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power General Manager David Wright stepped aside July 23 — more than two months ahead of a previously announced departure date.

Wright's exit followed a Monday FBI raid on the agency’s offices, seeking documents related to the botched rollout of a billing system.

Wright, who took the helm of the massive city agency three years ago, had submitted his resignation in mid-June, to take effect Oct. 1. But on July 23, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office announced Wright had stepped down effective immediately.

The LADWP Board of Commissioners voted to name the agency’s chief operating officer, Marty Adams, as interim general manager. Garcetti had already nominated Adams in mid-June to succeed Wright as general manager in a planned transition, pending City Council confirmation.

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Martin Adams, new Interim General Manager, LADWP

In an announcement, Garcetti said, “I have decided that a change in leadership can’t wait another day, and that’s why I am acting to begin Marty’s service as General Manager effective immediately.”

The move came one day after the FBI raided the downtown headquarters of the LADWP, the City Hall East office of Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer, and the local offices of law firms and other companies affiliated with New York attorney Paul Paradis, according to several media reports.

Feuer had retained Paradis to aid the city amid a class-action lawsuit filed by LADWP customers over alleged overcharges from the agency’s new billing system, which was rolled out in 2013. The city settled that class action lawsuit for $67 million and sent refunds to customers.

But accounting and consulting giant PriceWaterhouseCoopers, which had the consulting contract to implement the new billing system, alleged that Paradis was working both sides of the issue, having previously represented LADWP customers in a separate lawsuit.

The LADWP is the largest municipal utility in the United States serving more than 4 million residents, with a budget of roughly $6 billion and more than 9,400 employees. Adams is the agency’s third general manager in three years and the ninth in 15 years.

Education, energy, engineering/construction and infrastructure reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

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