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Monday, September 15, 2014

Did college district misspend bond funds at Van de Kamps project?

A group that has been tracking the redevelopment of the former Van de Kamps bakery in Glassell Park by the Los Angeles Community College District said there is more evidence of problems with the way the district has handled construction bond money. The Van de Kamps Coalition has claimed that the district has misspent construction bond funds at the Glassell Park property, allegations it claims are now supported by a report conducted by the district’s own lawyers. The district said the report is far from final and that previous audits have not turned up any problems.

The coalition was angered last year when the district dropped plans to open a satellite community college on the property, which instead has been leased out to a charter school and other tenants. The group has said improvements made for those Van de Kamps tenants violate provisions of the Prop 39 bond funds. In an interim report, the district’s lawyer, without naming a specific project, recommends that “no additional bond proceeds may be spent to improve or alter the facilities to meet the requirements of the tenants.” The attorney also recommended numerous other changes to district policies and procedures to ensure the construction bond funds are not used for other purposes. “Over the last 8 months, an orgy of changes and additional expenses have been incurred by the LACCD to solely accommodate the tenants’ needs and desires instead of completing the “school facility” LACCD originally designed to meet its own students’ needs,” the coalition said in a press release.

A statement issued by the district said attorney hired to look into the use of college bond funds is continuing to study the matter. “The evaluation of what activities can be covered with bond funds, and what activities should not be covered with bond funds, remains a work in progress,” the college district. “The LACCD’s bond counsel identified activities that she believes may have been inappropriate to fund with bond money, but she has continued to study the issue.”

4 comments

  1. This flagrant waste of bond construction funding should not surprise us since the board approved leasing space across the street from their headquarters for a furniture showroom, approved the tenant improvements, and approved their bond head guy's airfare and hotel in the midwest as well as the rental of a limo to attend a furniture mart there. All on the bond dime. The California mart wasn't good enough, nor was any BUY CA FIRST business model.

  2. The community college district may not know how to legally run a bond approved by voters, but they pre-dated bailouts by using the building bond to bail the cc district out. The nation may be very upset about government (tax payer) bail outs, but the cc district thinks the bond is a slush fund to correct all their terrible business decisions. Expect the board of trustees to continue to payoff bad contracts in energy, golf leases or whatever with the bond building money.

  3. Is it time to challenge the incumbents who are up for re-election next March?

  4. In defense of the Trustees: Many of them have jobs elsewhere. They are only working 2 days a month; granted those are long days, but 2 days nonetheless. They depend on the administrators and project leaders to tell them the truth. It's kind of easy to put stuff over on them.

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