A water board member in Lebec is accused of using a racial slur in an official email that also implies every one in that ethnic group is dishonest.
The email is more than a year old, but it came to light after a former board member recently made a Freedom of Information Act request for district emails. Now, some are calling on the board member who used the slur, Julie McWhorter to resign.
In the email, McWhorter, a Lebec water board director, used a culturally insensitive term for a person from India. It also implied that members of the same group of people are dishonest.
I went through the public information act and I requested these emails and I want this to go public. I want people to really see what Julie McWhorter is doing and not just what she says she is doing," past water board President Darren Hager said.
The email was part of an official exchange between board members made on the district's email system. The topic was repairs that the landlord needed to make to the furnace at the district office. The district rents the building from a family of Indian descent.
"That one email in question just doesnt sit right. It should have never been said on Lebec county district email," Hager said.
The landlord is Koko Carboyan. He and his wife own several businesses in the Lebec and Frazier Park areas. 23ABC spoke to Carboyan's wife, Lillian, by phone Thursday. She said she was unaware of the racial slur but says that she isnt surprised. She said McWhorter has been verbally abusive to her in the past, including using the F word.
23ABC also spoke to the current board president, who received the offensive email.
"She sent that one email and I thought it was kind of interesting and I just kind of set it aside," water board President Steve Cozzetto said.
23ABC called McWhorter to ask her about the email. She said she had just had a death in the family and wasnt available for an interview. She said she doesnt remember sending the email but wouldnt comment further.
"Its offensive because there are several other business owners out here that are of the same ethnicity. Her being on the board, she has to vote on these people. They are customers. Is she going to have a biased opinion every time their names come up?" Hager said.
Now, some are calling for McWhorter to resign.
"Think she needs to give an apology to these folks. I think it was wrong what she did. I think she should apologize. If she doesnt, I think she should resign. She should not be on the board with type of mentality," Hager said.
Officials said the Kern County grand jury is also investigating the Lebec water board.
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