Roseville water official held to answer for allegedly using $300k in city funds to butter up underling

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — The City of Roseville’s Assistant Director of Wastewater Utilities, Kenneth Glotzbach, was held to answer late last month on five felony counts of misusing public funds for allegedly using thousands of city dollars to butter up an underling

Glotzbach, wearing a grey suit with a yellow shirt, appeared in a Roseville courtroom alongside his lawyer, Barry Zimmerman. He’s been out of custody after quickly posting his $20,000 bond following his arrest at a private home in Carmichael last November.

Prosecutors have accused the 54-year-old of tricking the city council to approve money for Marisa Tricas to work for a consulting company tied to the city in the form of a $173,000 budget meant for a federal oversight program at the Dry Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant known as the Cogen Project – one the plant never actually participated in.

“The reason why the defendant did this is because he wanted Marisa Tricas to work in the government relations position for the Environmental Utilities division, but the city council had not approved her position, so he created this workaround,” Deputy District Attorney Tracy Pecoraro said at the hearing.

Before she was hired as a temporary employee at Brown and Caldwell, Tricas moved to Roseville from Washington, D.C, which authorities say Glotzbach paid for through funds allocated for the South Placer Water Authority – a partnership between Placer County and the South Placer Municipal Utilities District.

Placer County paid $369.98 for Tricas’ moving costs, and the Utilities District paid $739.97. Newton said that, when he checked with city employees and reviewed documents, Tricas wasn’t even working for the city when Glotzbach allegedly used public money to move her across the country.

“I asked the HR director Stacey Peterson, [Jordan] Plecker, and I reviewed other files, looking for employment, and she was not a city employee,” he said.

Prosecutors said at the hearing that Tricas gave a statement to the DA’s Office after being offered immunity but was ultimately not called to testify at the preliminary hearing. They will likely attempt to subpoena her if the matter ever goes to trial.

Tricas, who now works for the California Water Service, attended numerous conferences around the country in her time working for Brown and Caldwell, all of which were supposed to be for the Cogen Project. Prosecutors say she billed over $180,000 to Placer County, the City of Roseville, and the SPMUD.

Eventually, Newton testified, the money approved for the Cogen Project ran out, and Glotzbach scrambled to pay her using other tasks provided in the contract. She would bill an additional $15,652.00 to the JPA partners for “Construction Management Services” – a vague term for work that authorities say was never done.

Glotzbach is also accused of using city funds to send Tricas to Lincoln Law School on J Street. Newton was tipped off to the development after a city employee, Nancy Roethlisberger, discovered two “odd looking” invoices – they were made out directly to Glotzbach instead of accounts payable, they had a student number and no name, and they were for law school tuition, something the city rarely pays for.

Newton said at the hearing last month that the city is willing to cover up to $6,000 for educational reimbursement and asserted Glotzbach attempted to flout the rules when Tricas decided not to go that route.

Glotzbach told a superior that he paid for Tricas’ law school out of his own budget, something he wasn’t allowed to do without explicit permission, according to Newton.

“He did not have permission from the department head, which would be [Jordan] Plecker, and it would also need to be signed off by the city manager, Dominick Casey,” he said.

After interviewing city employees and gathering the suspicious payments, Newton executed a search warrant at Glotzbach’s office at the Dry Creek Wastewater Plant.

He immediately became nervous, Newton wrote in a probable cause statement, and shut down the conversation after answering a few questions. Several of Glotzbach’s cell phones were seized and later downloaded by detectives.

The text messages, officials say, showed Tricas and Glotzbach knew HR was investigating the suspicious payments and were keeping each other up to date.

“So Rich said that it could appear that we had an inappropriate relationship based on me finding a way to pay for school, as promised, that was unprecedented,” Glotzbach texted Tricas. “He said it could indicate I was going out of my way and making poor decisions because of an attraction to you.”

Glotzbach’s attorney, Barry Zimmerman, argued at the preliminary hearing that his client’s alleged misconduct isn’t three separate felony charges and should only be charged as one count of misappropriation of funds.

“I’m just saying I submit that they made their burden of misappropriation on the [Cogen Project], Count One,” he said. “I don’t see the specific evidence of these other aspects.”

Judge Jeffrey S. Penney said Zimmerman’s argument presented “an interesting issue,” but decided to charge the misappropriation as three separate felonies because they came at different dates and from different sources, citing a California Supreme Court Case.

“The court is guided by the case . . . People v. Stanford, it’s from 1940,” the judge said. “And the court stated at page 251 of the opinion, “The question of whether a series of wrongful acts constitutes a single or multiple offense must, in the last analysis, be determined by the particular facts and circumstances of each individual case.”

Glotzbach is set to be arraigned through a document called a “criminal information” on August 19th at 8:30 AM.

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