Vincent Farnsworth 6:31 p.m., Dec. 4
In a closed session meeting April 11, Southwestern College trustees voted unanimously to begin litigation against BCA (Bunton Clifford Associates) Architects, Inc., Seville Construction Services and Echo Pacific Construction for recovery of payments. The three companies were contracted under Proposition R, a $389 million, voter-approved construction bond.
Contracts issued under Southwestern's Proposition R and Sweetwater Union High School's Proposition O are the subjects of ongoing district attorney investigations.
Southwestern College's April 12 press release notes: "To date, the actions taken by former College employees and contractors associated with Proposition R have resulted in indictments and a guilty plea by the corner lot architect." The release goes on to state: "In seeking this action, Southwestern College plans to seek recovery of payments on contracts entered into without compliance with public contracting laws."
Southwestern's board president, Norma Hernandez, provided an email comment: "The board wants to ensure we are fulfilling our duty to properly safeguard public funds in this project. The concerns about improprieties in the contract procurement process were brought to our attention as early as summer 2010 before a new board was elected. It became a priority for the new board to investigate any wrongdoing in the contract procurement process for Prop R projects and to take the necessary actions to ensure transparency and compliance....Last night's Board decision is one of several actions that have been taken in the last year to protect the integrity of our bond projects and the interests of taxpayers..."
On March 30, Henry Amigable, who was the program manager for Proposition O construction at Sweetwater Union High School District, and subsequently at Southwestern College for Proposition R, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor education code charge in relationship to Sweetwater; he admitted to purchasing gifts for school officials to influence votes on contracts.
On March 26, Paul Bunton of BCA Architects, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor. His plea stated he "paid for meals and entertainment for Southwestern College officials, my actions triggered reporting responsibilities by these officials under the rules of the Fair Political Practices Commission. To my knowledge, those officials subsequently did not meet their reporting responsibilities..."
More like this:
- Past and present officials from three South Bay school districts arraigned — April 12, 2013
- More Corruption Charges in South Bay — March 26, 2012
- Sweetwater Contractor Plea Bargains in Corruption Case — March 21, 2012
- Southwestern College Foundation Under Investigation — Jan. 14, 2012
- More Contractor Coziness with Southwestern College Officials — Dec. 30, 2011