If Inocentes did indeed receive income from these clients, this would cause additional problems because, by law, Inocentes is required to disclose his assets and income, as are all public officials in California.
Other creditors, including the state and federal government, have filed liens and obtained judgments against him. In November, the IRS filed a lien for $11,004 for back taxes. In December 2001, the State Franchise Tax Board also filed a lien to garnish Inocentes's wages for $27,570 in back taxes. On May 18, 2001, former board members Mark Watton and Susan Price also filed a wage garnishment to collect legal fees they had been awarded after Inocentes unsuccessfully sued them.
In 1997, Inocentes's wages were garnished to satisfy an $1127 small claims judgment. At least two separate court orders to pay back child support were also entered into public records in November 1999, though the documents do not reveal the amounts.
Meanwhile, public records show that in 2001, Inocentes collected more money from the water district in salary and expenses than all the other directors combined. His $29,369 in salary and expenses was 52 percent of the total money -- $56,471 -- that all the directors received last year.
Inocentes was also involved in the strange case of the National City councilman, Fred Soto, an attorney who resigned from the state bar in August 2000 after allegations of fraud and misuse of clients' funds.
Soto took $11,000 from National City bar owner Evelyn Jones to represent her in negotiations with the family of the bar's former owners. After the family members contacted Jones directly, asking for their money, Jones confronted Soto, asking why the family had not received the $11,000, said the San Diego Filipino newspaper Diario Veritas.
Soto did not return Jones's calls for weeks, saying he was in Europe, but upon his return, admitted he had not paid the money to where it was supposed to go.
Soto and Inocentes delivered a check for $5000 to Jones, promising to repay the rest later. When news of the alleged scam became public, Inocentes claimed his friend had not defrauded his client but instead had merely taken out a loan from her.
"Liar," said Jones of Inocentes.
In taking a page from his own play book, Inocentes then said the charges against Soto were politically motivated to stop Soto from running for another term. Like Inocentes, Soto even filed a defamation suit against his colleagues on the National City City Council. The suit was later dismissed.
As the allegations mount against Inocentes, his family, and his friends, so do the chances that Inocentes will never seek reelection to another term this November. In the meantime, Inocentes has missed the last three Otay Water Board meetings, perhaps meeting with his court-ordered anger counselor, suggested one wag at the last Otay Water Board meeting.
Years of allegations and charges against Inocentes have caused him to lose much of the institutional support he enjoyed as a member of the San Diego Hispanic community. The local papers that once loved to hear him rail against the racism that was keeping him -- and by extension other Hispanics -- down are now shunning his articles.
This is one of the reasons why three years ago, Inocentes suddenly discovered his long-lost Filipino roots, friends say. And since then, he has been publishing articles in the Filipino News, a San Diego publication. And he has taken a leadership position in the Filipino Chamber of Commerce on the board of directors.
He is their auditor.
When asked if she was familiar with Inocentes's long record of financial irregularities in business and politics, chamber president V.L. Vinson said she didn't care about that. "I'm a Christian and we do not believe in judging people."
Other members of the Filipino community are alarmed that this fox is guarding the henhouse. "It is truly a shame that Inocentes and his family have brought such disgrace to a position of such trust and honor," said Carol Santos outside a meeting of the Otay Water Board in May. "We Filipinos are especially hurt, because Inocentes used his Filipino heritage as part of his disgrace. If he has any honor left and any hope of saving his family, he will resign." Tony Inocentes says that will never happen.
(Inocentes was reached once but was unavailable for comment and did not return subsequent calls.)