California League of Bond Oversight Committees

​​​​​​​​​​​Whistleblower Allegations Spurs Talk of Forensic Exam West Contra Costa Trustees to Seek an Audit of $1.6 Billion Bond Program 
April 29, 2015 | By Theresa Harrington|
EXCERPT: RICHMOND -- West Contra Costa trustees will seek a detailed audit of their bond construction program in the wake of whistle-blower allegations of criminal wrongdoing and negligence by three district officials. ... 
   Dennis Clay, a project analyst who has worked in the district for 11 years, alleged in a document sent to the board earlier this month that he had uncovered evidence of criminal conduct by former Trustee Charles Ramsey, "facilitation" by Superintendent Bruce Harter and negligence by Sheri Gamba, associate superintendent of business services. Clay who performs financial analysis for the district, said Wednesday that he compiled three binders full of documents to back up his claims, which he provided to outside auditors from Pleasanton-based Vavrinek, Trine, Day and Company. ... 
   ... District spokesman Marcus Walton said it was his understanding that the board is hiring the auditors to conduct the independent investigation. He also said that Clay did not need the district's permission to talk about his documentation. ...
   ... Ramsey, reached by phone late Wednesday afternoon, called the allegations "serious," and said that Clay "would have to back them up." He would not comment further and referred questions to his attorney. Several district residents who asked the board for an independent analysis of bond spending after learning of Clay's allegations praised trustees for taking the matter seriously. The residents said transparency is necessary to rebuild public trust in the bond program. ... 
   ... Hercules City Councilman Dan Romero, who reminded the school board about whistle-blower protection laws before they went into closed session, said in an e-mail after the meeting that he was glad to hear the board would pursue a detailed audit. ... 
   ... Trustee Madeline Kronenberg said after the closed session that the FBI, which initially contacted her in relation to an SEC investigation into the bond program last fall, has not followed up with her. Trustee Val Cuevas said that the SEC investigation is ongoing. ...

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Court reverses decision on Fresno Unified’s controversial contract to build Gaston school 
June 2, 2015 | Hannah Furfaro |
• 5th District Court of Appeal reversed a Fresno County Superior Court ruling on a case involving Fresno Unified and Harris Construction • The court says a lease-leaseback deal between the district and company didn’t follow the intent of state law • The decision also raises questions about whether the head of Harris Construction had a conflict of interest 
EXCERPT: ... A Fresno County Superior Court decision involving two of the city’s biggest-name public and private players — Fresno Unified School District and Harris Construction Co. — has been reversed, calling into question a controversial construction deal the district made for Rutherford B. Gaston Middle School. ...The appellate court doesn’t tackle the conflict-of-interest question. But the court does say Davis has grounds to press the issue in Fresno County Superior Court. 
   The court also makes it clear that corporate consultants like Spencer, not just elected officials and government employees, are subject to state conflict-of-interest laws. 
   “What I was most impressed with in this appellate court opinion was the level of analysis and detail this appellate court went to,” said Kevin Carlin, Davis’ attorney. “This is a significant public interest issue and I think it’s a big win for taxpayers because it clarifies integrity in the process.” Carlin said he and Davis are weighing whether they’ll request a new case in Fresno County Superior Court. Davis did not return phone messages from The Bee. ... To read the complete article visit:

California School Builders, Others to Gather Signatures for November 2016 Statewide School Construction Bond Measure 
Jan 12, 2015 | By Jim Miller |
EXCERPT:  School-construction and home-building groups Monday launched an effort to qualify a $9 billion school bond for the November 2016 ballot, only days after Gov. Jerry Brown released a budget plan that minimized the state’s role in paying for building new classrooms and modernizing existing ones.
   The last state school bond was in 2006, and the pot of new construction and modernization money is virtually empty, with a $2 billion backlog in applications for assistance. Besides putting students in aging or overcrowded classrooms, officials warn that the situation could trigger a 1998 state law that would double developer fees on new homes.
... Monday’s filing follows Brown’s release last Friday of a spending plan for the coming fiscal year that included little new state money for school facilities. Brown has made clear that he takes a dim view of the state incurring debt to build schools.
   ... Monday’s filing follows Brown’s release last Friday of a spending plan for the coming fiscal year that included little new state money for school facilities. Brown has made clear that he takes a dim view of the state incurring debt to build schools. 
   Last week’s proposal called for making it easier for local districts to pass bonds as well as restructuring developer fees in a way that would likely increase them. Any state contribution, it said, should be targeted to districts with the most need. ...