Seven work days into Ron Beilke's job at the Central Basin Municipal Water District, the agency's governing board placed an item on its next meeting agenda. It called for firing him from his $98,000-a-year job as assistant to the general manager.
Two hours later, Beilke crashed headfirst into a wall on the second floor of the district's headquarters in the City of Commerce. One employee later said she watched Beilke fly across the frame of her door, arms stretched out, like Superman.
Beilke, who was taken away by paramedics in a neck brace, later collected workers' compensation and sued for wrongful termination. Central Basin commissioned a report that quoted employees who questioned whether Beilke's fall had been deliberate.
But by the time Central Basin settled with him nearly four years later, the agency racked up costs of nearly $1.5 million.
"Maybe it was just divine intervention," Beilke said in an interview with The Times about the timing of the fall. "Maybe someone was looking out for me without killing me."
In the wake of the costly incident, some have questioned why Beilke was hired in the first place. A former Pico Rivera mayor, Beilke had been convicted of political misconduct.
Wednesday, January 31, 2018
"He worked at a water district for just seven days. But it ended up costing $1.5 million"