Juan Orozco

Wapato City Administrator Juan Orozco resigned Friday. State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the city of Wapato and Orozco in June, accusing Orozco of using his former position as mayor to unlawfully enrich himself by creating — and accepting — the $95,000 city administrator’s position.

Wapato City Administrator Juan Orozco has resigned.

Mayor Dora Alvarez-Roa confirmed mid-day Friday she had regrettably received Orozco's letter of resignation.

In her announcement, sent to members of the media, Alvarez-Roa commended what she called Orozco's vision, commitment, and drive, which she said had brought unprecedented changes to the city and city government.

"He made promises to our community and kept them, and more: Remodeled and opened our municipal swimming pool, remodeled and opened our Community Center, lowered utilities taxes, fixed our streets and beatified and maintained our cemetery," Alvarez-Roa wrote. "He accomplished every single promise made to our community members."

Orozco became mayor in January 2018. He resigned in September 2018, and was immediately appointed city administrator by Alvarez-Roa. He and the city have been the subject of four ongoing lawsuits and nine civil tort claims. The Washington State Auditor reported eight egregious findings of unlawful activity and misappropriation of government resources under his administration, including violations of the nepotism policy and state Open Public Meetings Act.

Orozco and other city staff also are the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation by the Yakima County Prosecutor's Office and the Yakima County Sheriff's Office.

Alvarez-Roa said in her announcement that she still believes the overwhelming majority of the community appreciates and supports Orozco.

"We applaud him for his great service to our city," she said.

State Attorney General Bob Ferguson sued the city of Wapato and Orozco in June, accusing Orozco of using his former position as mayor to unlawfully enrich himself by creating — and accepting — the $95,000 city administrator’s position.

This story will be updated.

 

Reach Lex Talamo at ltalamo@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: @LexTalamo.