Whistleblower alleges LA community college system misled taxpayers on development project costs

Project manager says he was fired for exposing problems, overspending

Los Angeles /
May.May 09, 2019 03:00 PM
Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D. and David Salazar with Renderings of the new Student Services Center, a Measure CC-approved project
Francisco C. Rodriguez, Ph.D. and David Salazar with Renderings of the new Student Services Center, a Measure CC-approved project

An executive in charge of a massive construction program for the Los Angeles Community College District has filed a whistleblower complaint, alleging he was fired for outing cost overruns in the publicly-funded system.

David Salazar, chief facilities executive for the voter-approved $3.3-billion bond program, claims voters were misled in approving Measure CC in 2016 for campus upgrades, the Los Angeles Times reported. Salazar sounded the alarm earlier this year about cost overruns and unnecessary spending, which he now claims led to his termination in March.

Salazar said a study he approved found that many facilities on the citywide campuses were unused, costing $4.4 million a year. The study concluded the district did not need to build more facilities at the rate it projected to justify voter approval of Measure CC, “meaning the taxpayers were misled.”

Whistleblower actions are not uncommon among city employees, although this has attracted attention because it directly related to a public bond issue.

Salazar is on paid administrative lease and asking for a full reinstatement or $1.6 million for five years of pay and benefits. His complaint alleges Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez, general counsel Jeffrey Prieto and trustees Steven Veres, Gabriel Buelna and Andra Hoffman retaliated against him.

Rodriguez did not return requests for comment. Veres, in an email response to The Real Deal, said the district’s bond monitor, Exiger, is investigating the claims.

“As an individual trustee, I personally disagree with the accusations Mr. Salazar makes, but as I said Exiger and their investigation team will process and evaluate the claim,” Veres wrote in the email.

Salazar has asked for an independent investigator, according to the Times. [LAT]Gregory Cornfield


Related Articles

arrow_forward_ios
Ardie Tavangarian sells Pacific Palisades spec mansion for record $83M
Ardie Tavangarian sells Pacific Palisades spec mansion for record $83M
Ardie Tavangarian sells Pacific Palisades spec mansion for record $83M
Senate Majority Leader Toni Atkins (Getty, iStock)
Affordable housing bills stall over union labor requirements
Affordable housing bills stall over union labor requirements
State Senator Scott Weiner is the primary author of Senate Bill 9 (Getty, California Legislative)
Study: California’s “upzoning” bill would not lead to widespread redevelopment
Study: California’s “upzoning” bill would not lead to widespread redevelopment
(Getty / Photo Illustration by The Real Deal)
Couple fined $18k for bulldozing recently protected Joshua Trees
Couple fined $18k for bulldozing recently protected Joshua Trees
Rendering of the project (NMDA for CIM Group)
CIM drops residential units at proposed West Hollywood hotel
CIM drops residential units at proposed West Hollywood hotel
Downtown Burbank's Transit Oriented Development Specific Plan (Photo via Downtown Burbank TOD/City of Burbank)
Burbank’s downtown specific plan could add thousands of units of housing around its Metrolink station
Burbank’s downtown specific plan could add thousands of units of housing around its Metrolink station
A rendering of the project with East End Capital managing principals Jonathon Yormak and David Peretz. (Relativity Architects, East End Capital)
East End Capital to convert cold storage into movie studio
East End Capital to convert cold storage into movie studio
(Proper Hotel, Google Maps)
Downtown LA’s Proper Hotel to open in July after years of delays
Downtown LA’s Proper Hotel to open in July after years of delays
arrow_forward_ios

The Deal's newsletters give you the latest scoops, fresh headlines, marketing data, and things to know within the industry.

Loading...