Posts Tagged ‘contracts’

It never ends, Sewer Bid Contracts again in the News, is City Hall in turmoil once again at the wheel of damage control working feverishly to sort a believable story for the public?  Do we now hire our trump card Best, Best & Krieger for Public Relations, or are we just a bit beyond that?  With City Councilman Paul Davis up for Mayor Pro Temp coming this week and City Attorney Greg Priamos hiding behind the comforting doors of his office, is City Manager Brad Hudson conveniently leaving the scene of the crime just in time?  Is his remaining posse working hard to answer all the abounding questions that remain?  And are City Hall employees celebrating Brad Hudson leaving, as they did when Assistant City Manager Tom DeSantis left?

Well, the spotlight is now on Riverside Public Works, that would be Tom Boyd’s department.  Did his department preferentially award a contract to Camp, Dresser & McKee?  A contract according to the standard scoring process should have went to Hill, known as CH2M Hill,  of who scored higher.  Incidently, CH2M Hill for the third year has been rated Worlds Most Ethical Companies, I understand ethics just doesn’t sit well in Riverside.  Regardless, there are two employees at the forefront of the allegations, City Engineer Warren Huang and Sewer Treatment Plant Manager Craig Justice, who stated to Deputy City Attorney Raychele Sterling that they were called into Public Works Director Siobhan Foster’s office, where “they were told that ‘she did not like the results of the scoring,’ and that the scoring needed to be ‘fixed’ so that CDM was selected” because Albert A. Webb Associates was to be a subcontractor on the job, according to the email.  Was there creative math occurring in this bid process?   Now we have the subcontractor Albert A. Webb and Associates at the forefront of the questionable bid process.   Matthew A. Webb, president of Albert A. Webb Associates, has acknowledged a friendship with Hudson, but has said the firm gained work based on merit and that jobs for the city are only a small portion of its business, but twelve payouts on a single day?  There lies the questionable appearance of bid splitting, and no one at City Hall has been able to explain it.  The following is City Memorandum from last month by Webb requesting a change order for an additional appropiation of $308,495.00.  Now the question, what is the purpose of the scoring process when no one follows the rules?  Does it then become just a city formality?   TMC has asked for a an independent forensic audit, who will answer to a community finance commitee.  Or a request by the City Council for State Controller John Chiang, would also be in order.

What does Chief Financial Officer, Paul Sundeen say about this.   According to Mary Shelton, who writes the River City Cop Watch Blog, Sundeen believes an independent audit is too expensive and wouldn’t be necessary in his opinion. He claims no bid splitting has ever taken place ever but if it happens, he should be notified to investigate it.  We have this bit of info for Paul to investigate thirteen payments in one day. Bid splitting or coincidence? as coincidental as our emails being blocked Paul’s office.

Cihigoyenetche, Grossberg & Clouse, Rancho Cucamonga based law firm Hudson requested to investigate allegations of favoritism of himself to the tune of $100,000.00, presented their findings.  According to Cihigoyenetche’s report, the employees Sterling says told her of favoritism denied making those comments when questioned by an investigator and they did not find that Hudson’s friendships influenced who got  contracts or that Hudson pressured anyone to award contracts to someone specific.  Good work Cihigoyenetche, Grossberg & Clouse!  I’m sure there was also no conflict of interest between the firm and Hudson…..and by the way, did the taxpayer pay your bill alright?  Did anybody know that Scott Grossberg performed magic! …and wrote books such as  “The Vitruvian Square: A Handbook of  Divination Discoveries,” “The Masks of Tarot,” and “Bauta: Betraying  the Face of Illusion,” in addition to his  oracle/divination cards, “The Deck of Shadows.”     But in all fairness, in report notes of the hired law firm requested by the Press Enterprise via the public records request act,  Cihigoyenetche’s reports, “To the extent that any public works managers pressured staff to award the contract to the firm with (Hudson’s) alleged friend as a subcontractor, such pressure emanated from a pervasive desire within the city to award contracts to capable local business to stimulate the local economy,” rather than to reward Hudson’s friends.  Ahhh, thats it!…it was all about “stimulating the local economy”, that was worth a $100,000.00 of taxpayer money to find out, wouldn’t you say?  Or a bit of magic sleight of hand with taxpayer money, now you see it, now you don’t!  Further, Deputy City Attorney Raychele Sterling, who was fired last month in May, stated that the employees were badgered and berated with threats of losing their job.  In a March 23 email to the City Council, Sterling wrote that public works employees told her they were directed by their superiors to assign projects to a particular firm because its head “is a personal friend of the city manager, and the city manager wants him to receive as many projects as possible.” This at around the same time fired employee Sean Gill, Construction Contracts Administrator for the City, claimed that city officials gave millions in contracts without the contracts going out to bid. The lawsuit also alleges Gill was ordered by Deputy Public Works Director Tom Boyd to sign off on projects that didn’t meet handicap-accessible standards or city requirements, and that Boyd “even instructed Gill not to inspect the work.”  The suit claims city officials — with the knowledge of council members — awarded contracts “in an effort to increase their political allies” and ordered work without public bidding, which cost the city more money than necessary.  There you go Mr. Sundeen, sounds like something to investigate, also sounds as both Raychele and Sean fall into the whistleblower category.

Last year, June 2010 at City Council, that Dvonne Pitruzello, City Council Candidate Ward 1, requested to see documents in regards to City Manager Brad Hudson’s discretionary fund spending.  Since then, numerous questions of indiscretions came to the forefront at City Council Meetings, such as the Connie Leach Contracts and questions of favoritism in contracts awarded to Albert Webb and Assoiciates.  Will the City of Riverside experience another mass exodus due to the next erruption of the Toba Caldera?  Keep connected with TMC…


About a week after allegations of favoritism hit the City of Riverside, a breaking release by the PE are allegations of improprieties claimed by fired city employee Sean Gill with regard to how city contracts were handled.  It has also been alleged by other indivduals, that the city of Riverside has a close relationship with PE, to the extent of having a worthy opinion before a story is released, as in the case of Chief Russel Leach DUI.  Regardless the suite claims that city officials gave millions in contracts without the contracts going out to bid.  Again the city is denying this claim, but I’ll tell you, it sounding alot like that old bug a boo we’d like to keep under the matt, “Favoritism”.  OK I said it.    But what is quite intriguing and diabolical is that the Riverside City Council was quite aware of this activity with regard to contracts not going out for public bid, this “in an effort to increase their political allies”.   Wow, quite blatent.  None the less, it is shameful time in the City of Riverside, when the atmosphere of trust is non existent toward elected and appointed government officials, that this makes the community have to take another step back.   It is also quite coincidental that Sean Gill’s comment completely disappeared from the comment section of the PE’s article Riverside: City Officials Dispute Favoritism Claims.  Evidently Sean Gill’s comment was as follows, taken from the Five Before Midnight Blogspot:

The city fired me when I tried to make people aware of their corruption. Its been going on for years. Brad Hudson, Siobhan Foster and Tom Boyd all deserve to be fired for their corruption along with half of the city council. People think Bell is corrupt, I hope they keep digging into the City of Riverside. If Ed becomes mayor, wait and see how much more work his firm receives.

—Sean Gill, to Press Enterprise comments

Again, this leaves the City of Riverside scrambling at damage control with the usual response, this time from Supervising Deputy City Attorney Jeb Brown, “We think that the case doesn’t have any merit and we look forward to defending it”.  I’ll bet you do Jeb.  This after Deputy City Attorney Raychele Sterling stated in a email to City Council,  that several city employees told her they were directed to give work to specific firms by superiors.  According to Chief Finance Officer Paul Sundeen the city has retained an outside law firm to do an independent investigation.  An investigation upon themselves? Any guesses on what this independent investigation will cover? Any wagers?  Well, we all agree that mishandling of contracts without bids cost the taxpayer in benefits they expect, and the taxpayer shouldn’t have to be hit with the cost due to the incompetance and quite possibly, fraud, of these city officials.  Besides contracts, I’m also thinking how many law suites have been settled out of court by the City of Riverside in order to cirmcumvent the limelight, but at what cost?  This is another investigation we need to dig into.  But again, we invite to hear from any elected or appointed official, the city of riverside’s side of the story.  We encourage you to comment.

UPDATE: FRIDAY MAY 20, 2011:  RIVERSIDE DEPUTY CITY ATTORNEY RAYCHELE STERLING FIRED!  The reason why the community of Riverside have become complacent to city news, is the type of third world politics displayed by elected and appointed officials within the walls of  City Hall.  Again, the city fires another employee in what appears for no other reason but doing the right thing.  But interesting enough, the City Hall offers her 6 months of paid administrative, yes, 6 months, to go away find another job and probably just be quiet.  You’ll never see this type of offer in the private sector.  But again the city is at a loss of words, especially when the taxpayer should be informed.  In the name of accountability and transparency we receive such responses  as,  “She was an at-will employee sitting at the pleasure of the city attorney, and … I determined that the termination of that agreement was in the best interests of the city”, as stated by City Attorney Greg Priamos.  But no firm reason as to the termination, and we may never know.   Possibly, if you have something on the city, you may receive one of Greg Priamo’s Iron Fisted Gag Orders, which is probably like having your mouth sutured before they place the duck tape on.  Greg, How much is this law suit going to cost the taxpayer?  Will you hire, contract or request assistance from Best, Best & Krieger and possibly good ol Ex Riverside County District Attorney Grover C. Trask?   …And since we do so much business with B,B&K is there any validity to the rumor that they may be taking one of the floors at City Hall?  …And Brad, How much is your ongoing investigation on yourself going to cost the taxpayer?  Not to mention, the cost of institutional memory ?  Hudson has requested an outside investigation to the allegations of favoritism of himself, so he hired Rancho Cucamonga-based law firm Cihigoyenetche Grossberg Clouse to do the investigation which ultimately may take a month.  But it gets stranger, one of the partners of the law firm Brad Hudson retained to investigate the email claims, is also a motivational speaker who specializes in magic,  and is the author of three critically acclaimed and bestselling books, “The Vitruvian Square: A Handbook of Divination Discoveries,” “The Masks of Tarot,” and “Bauta: Betraying the Face of Illusion,” in addition to his oracle/divination cards, “The Deck of Shadows.” This partner specializes in magic, thought-reading, and divination (Tarot, oracle cards, palmistry, astrology, and numerology).  I guess my question to the City of Riverside is, does this get paid through the taxpayer or the other side.  But this may be a good thing in Brad’s world, Cihigoyenetche Grossberg Clouse may be just the thing to take this investigation that one step beyond.