A local coalition has called for an official investigation of the Los Angeles Community College District's (LACCD) management of the $5.7 billion Measure J bond program, which included a multi-million construction effort at the historic Van de Kamps site in Glassell Park.
The Van de Kamps Coalition sent a formal request to the Los Angeles County District Attorney and the Los Angeles Civil Grand Jury on Tuesday, requesting they launch official investigation into LACCD's oversight of the bond program.
The letter comes on the heels of a LACCD trustees meeting last week, during which representatives from the State Controller's Office shared the findings of their bond program audit.
The State Controller's Office reported four basic findings in their audit: misuse of Measure J funds, lack of district oversight over spending practices, disregard of procurement guidelines in appointment of the inspector general and inadequate citizens oversight committee.
The audit also stated that LACCD ignored its internal procurement guidelines in the hiring of Christine Marez and her firm, Policy Masters Inc., as inspector general.
The audit calls for an independent review of the hiring process, and during last week's meeting, Jeff Brownfield of the State Controller's office suggested an investigation by the district attorney's office would also be in order if action was not taken by the LACCD board.
LACCD responded to Brownfield's recommendation by forming an ad-hoc committee tasked with examining the procurement process. Among the board members placed on the committee was Mona Field, who oversaw the hiring of Policy Masters and referred to them as an "up and coming company willing to go the extra mile."
Laura Gutierrez, a member Van de Kamps Coalition, said the following in an official press release.
“We watched in amazement as the LACCD Board of Trustees ignored the State Controller’s recommendation for outside and independent review of misconduct in the procurement of the Inspector General. Mona Field sat on the interview committee for the Inspector General. Does anyone think that Field will make public findings that there was anything wrong with her own work? It’s a classic case of setting up another committee to whitewash the underlying corrupt contracting processes of our community college district.”
"I've heard rumors about the letter, but the district attorney's office has yet to contact LACCD," said Coby King, a spokesman for LACCD.
King added that he did not see any impropriety with field being named to the ad-hoc committee charged with investigating the Policy Master hiring.
"I think it's an effective way of looking at the process. I'm not aware of any eyebrows being raised about this," King said. "I think that if you have further questions about that you probably ask Ms. Field."
Highland Park-Mount Washington Patch has left a message for Field through LACCD's Board of Trustees Office, but has yet to hear back.