William Vickrey, the AOC’s Administrative Director of the Courts, sent out an internal email last Friday detailing problems that the AOC has had with unlicensed contractors working at various court facilities. In the email Vickrey explains that an AOC employee discovered “the use of unlicensed contractors to perform maintenance and other services on our trial court facilities.” He also explains the process that the AOC went through to hear the whistleblower’s complaint and the results of its investigation into the allegations brought about by the whistleblower.
The AOC discovered that two contractors did not maintain proper licenses. One of the contractors, Jacobs Facilities Inc., had expired license due to a “corporate reorganization.” That contract which the contractor had worked under was then transferred to a related company called Jacobs Project Management Co. The second contractor, Aleut Global Solutions, also did not appear to have a proper license. In their investigation the AOC discovered that Aleut Global Solutions “had not completed the steps it needed to take to obtain the required license.” Vickrey says the issues with that company were “being addressed.”
The AOC then took the step of contacting outside government agencies to help in the matter and they’ve stopped payments on invoices submitted by the two contractors.
Because of the seriousness of both situations, AOC contacted the State of California Department of Justice (Attorney General’s office) several weeks ago for assistance and has been working closely with that office. The AOC also has withheld payment of unpaid invoices for both service providers pending the ongoing investigation and review. AOC’s Office of Court Construction and Management (OCCM) has been working to assure that there is no interruption of services, and none is anticipated.
Of course, kudos goes to the brave whistleblower who stepped forward and pointed out the discrepancies with the licenses of these contractors. The question is how anyone at the AOC could have allowed these contractors to bid on and receive contracts without checking first to see whether they had proper licenses. I mean, isn’t that one of the first things people tell you to do when hiring contractors? Check references? And I’m curious to know exactly how much the AOC has withheld in payment and what project these two contractors were working on and in which facilities. If you know the answer, you know where to reach me.