District Employee Seeks Restraining Order Against West Valley Water Board Member

A hearing on a petition by a West Valley Water District employee to obtain a restraining order against West Valley Water District Board Member Gregory Young this week was continued until later this month.
Naseem Farooqi, who is the public affairs manager with the water district, maintains that Young grew so angry with him that Young made a threat to kill him.
The Sentinel is informed that the contretemps evolved out of a press release that Farooqi authored and put out. The press release in question apparently referenced a vote by the water board, and Young objected to what he says was a factual error in the release, which stated that he had voted against the item being voted on when in fact he had abstained from voting.
Young’s alleged threat came when he was upbraiding Farooqi about the inaccuracy.
The atmosphere in the West Valley Water District has grown increasing tense over the last year. There is a sharp 3-to-2 divide on the district’s governing board, pitting directors Dr. Michael Taylor, Kyle Crowther and Don Olinger on one side against directors Dr. Clifford Young, Sr. and Gregory Young on the other. There is no blood relation ship between Clifford Young and Gregory Young.
Earlier this year, Clifford Young and the district’s chief financial officer, Naisha Davis, and the district’s board secretary, Patricia Romero, filed a lawsuit against the district’s general counsel, Robert Tafoya, and two of the district’s other law firms and a district consultant, Robert Katherman. In that suit, Young, Davis and Romero allege the district has engaged in improper hiring practices.
It has been suggested that some district personnel have been caught in the crossfire between the warring factions on the board. Farooqi said he had petitioned the court for a restraining order against Gregory Young because “I take all threats of this nature very seriously.”
Asked if Gregory Young’s statement was merely a joke or overstatement, Farooqi said,  “It was not a joke.  Director Greg Young was very angry and threatened me out of anger.”
The matter came before Judge Barry Plotkin on Wednesday morning, July 31, as an ex-parte hearing. It was heard starting at 9:45 a.m.
Both Farooqi and Young under oath provided their version of events to the court, with Young having been advised of his 5th Amendment rights. Thereafter, the court went into recess to allow Farooqi to call a witness, a district employee, Socorro Pantaleon. When the hearing resumed at 1:38 p.m. Pantaleon offered her testimony. An exhibit was marked for identification and entered into evidence.
After the testimony was concluded, Judge Plotkin denied the immediate granting of a restraining order, but ordered both parties to return on August 27 to see if a restraining order would be entered at that time.
Farooqi told the Sentinel, “The court found enough evidence to support my claim to set a further hearing to determine if an injunction will be issued against Director Greg Young for threatening me with bodily harm and making threats against me. Under penalty of perjury he did not deny making the threat, and instead admitted it is possible he made the threat. He did not deny the statement because he cannot do so without perjuring himself.”
Efforts to reach Gregory Young by press time were unsuccessful.
-Mark Gutglueck

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