AOC Employee Blows Whistle On Unlicensed Contractors

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.

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51 responses to “AOC Employee Blows Whistle On Unlicensed Contractors

  1. PattyJane Smith

    One wonders whether these unlicensed contractors were paying the state mandated prevailing wages and whether the construction trade union would care about that.

  2. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    First: This notification by Mr. Vickery falls about a hundred miles short of the truth.

    Second: ALL AOC employees in AOC’s Facilities Management Unit have known for well over two years that these entities had no contractors licenses.

    Third: This has been brought to the attention of the AOC numerous times by numerous people inside and outside of the AOC and has been ignored. We have definitive proof of this.

    Fourth, the DBA of the company operating in 2/3rds of the courthouses across the state is doing business as “Team Jacobs” a (still unlicensed) joint venture between Jacobs Engineering Group and American Building Maintenence.

    Fifth: These vendors operate utilizing sole-source cost plus DOD style contracts with sky-high management fees of over 30%, plus performance based bonuses. Facilities management unit prefers to “commission studies” (paid estimates that cost as high as 20 grand) as opposed to “requests for proposals” which would be free and would comport with public works laws.

    Sixth: Collusion, contract steering, bid-rigging and bid shopping, which are all unlawful practices are all alleged to have knowingly ocurred by a team we affectionately term “The three unwise men” – and that there are others likely involved – but no one is empowered to investigate.

    Seventh: Prevailing wage laws and notifications are non-existent. Public works laws are ignored.

    Eighth: The AOC has funneled some 60 million dollars KNOWINGLY to these unlicensed contractors and as Mr. Vickrey’s note implies, not a damn thing will change with respect to this unlawful funneling of public works to ineligible, unlicensed contractors.

    Ninth: It is alleged that someone high up at the AOC or the Judicial Council is “on the take” with respect to these transactions.

    Tenth: while the whistle was blown in July one might wonder why wasn’t this notification made in July? The answer is:

    Eleventh: The whistleblower had to threaten litigation to stop these transactions and the threat obviously did not work.

    Twelfth: This whistleblower was told in no uncertain terms that the “potential value” of the “team jacobs” contract is 9 billion dollars and that if he valued his freedom, his live and his job, he should consider dropping his complaint and lying low.

    And last but certainly not least – the reason we and this brave whistleblower that still works for the AOC have called for a forensic audit of ALL aoc records with respect to these contracts and transactions and have gotten nowhere.

    If you are a judge, you might consider calling your AOC facilities O&M supervisors into your offices and personally questioning them about what they know about all of these events while assuring their confidentiality because blowing the whistle in the AOC does not work.

    You might ask them if they have brought these many improprieties to the attention of anyone in FMU management and how those notifications were met by the AOC – and how helpless these people are to sound the alarm regarding these improprieties because those who work in IAD report to those who manage the contracts.

    If you want a reason for independent oversight, there is no better reason that these facts.

    As we indicated earlier

    In a distant land a storm is brewing

    The Jedi have assembled in numbers and have already launched

    Tomorrow morning will be the first of many pink sky mornings

    And the empire is destined to crumble and be re-shaped

    This whistleblower is the first of these brave souls to fight internally against public corruption within the AOC.

    We respectfully request that everyone back this brave whistleblowers cause by calling for an independent investigation and audit of these unlawful practices.

    No one, not even the AOC is above the law and under various government codes the continued use of these unlicensed entities by the AOC remains both against the public interests as well as public law.

    This is but one of several major cases of malfeasance within the AOC – but who has the power to investigate any of them?

    As we have said before – follow the money.

    As to which courthouses they work in? This will really blow your mind.

    They work in every courthouse from the Oregon border to the Mexican border.

    “Team Jacobs” maintains 2/3rds of the courthouses in the state and AGS maintains the other 1/3rd of courthouses in the state.

  3. The whole facility issue is a headscrather. If the counties couldn’t afford to build and maintain courthouses, why does the AOC think it can? Keep in mind the counties already the administrative and staffing resources in place to build and maintain facilities. While the counties are required to make maintenance of efforts to the AOC, theses payments don’t come close to paying for the hard costs of maintaining the transferred facilities, much less the tremendous overhead the AOC has put in place in the form of OCCM.

    The mainteance companies hired by the AOC charge rates that far exceed what it cost the county to perform the same services. I can only imagine what it costs for one of these companies to change a lightbulb. Not only that the AOC wants courts to enter into MOU’s that require the use of these contractors for work that the courts must pay (“Rule 810 – Non-Allowable Expeses’), such as painting and hanging pictures. This seems to fly in the face of the AOC own procurement policies that require getting at least 3 quotes for just about anything.

    Does anyone know how the AOC funds the difference between the county facility payments and the actual costs of paying the contractors and FMU? How much is this?

    Also, I get the sense that FMU operates under a use or lose it policy. They want to spend every dollar allocated for modification (separate from maintenance). It would seem that in these tough budgetary times, if a modification does not involve the health or safety of court employees or users, it should be put on hold until we are through this crisis.

  4. We knew about this a while ago when I told a person from the OCCM about this two years ago they told me to blow it out the butt. Then I talked to Micheal Paul at a seminar about this he told me did you talk to someone at OCCM and I said yes and he told me that he would check on it. Then it all came down around his ears and got told to back off.
    Larson Justice Center
    Micheal Paul from Team Jacobs Engineering was creud and unusual to everyone made them follow rules and regulations that were not apart of Osha’s rules and made up ones that would get people ripped apart. The staff they hired has gone threw probably 10 to 15 people in the last 6 months to take care of the maintance and couldnt even do that.
    Team jacobs has never had a contractors license in the state of california and has it in another state and is awarding sole source maintence contracts to Alicen Mechanical that didnt even go out to public bid.
    Dennis from the aoc came out to check on how everything was going and the light ballistics never got replaced they kept the old ones in and Jacobs pocketed the money.
    I think someone in the aoc is on the take because this has been happening alot longer than what is being said to the public and that it needs to be addressed to look at the higher ups in the organization and look at bank records or holds in other countries to where this money that people have gotten that they couldnt have gotten beening a state employee.

  5. To the extent these providers performed work for which a license was required, the AOC has paid millions of dollars to unlicensed contractors. Under California law the AOC is entitled to recover all of that money. (B&P 7031.) Those are public funds and the “service providers” possibly committed a crime by engaging in the business of contracting without a license. (B&P 7028) Does the AOC have a legal obligation to seek recovery of those funds? That is a whole lot of money paid in direct contravention of California law and strong public policy which requires contractors to be licensed.

    To the extent AGS does not yet have a license and the AOC is aware of this, isn’t the AOC complicit in a crime if it allows AGS to continue to provide services, for which a license is required, whether they pay for them or not?

    Furthermore, what about the public works law (competitive bidding and prevailing wage)? Did the AOC go out to bid as required by the public contract law each time a modifcation that cost more than $1,000 was performed? Did AGS pay prevailing wage? Did the AOC demand certified payrolls? Did the AOC let the AGS employees who performed public works services know they are entitled to prevailing wage, even for maintenance work? (8 CCR 16000)

    How many lawyers work for the AOC? How could this happen?

    • peppermyntpattie

      The AOC complicit in a crime? The very organization that is responsible for enforcing the laws complicit in violating the law? How could that happen? Probably the same way the embezzlement in the HR Division happened, along with all the gifting of benefits to positions not entitled to benefits, the promotion of the employee who didn’t meet the MQ’s for her then current job, and all the other violations of the law that were reported to the Executive Office and covered up. And as for the AOC making an effort to recover public funds obtained by fraud, well that didn’t happen in the embezzlement case so why would anyone expect it to happen now?

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      Certain OCCM managers need to be paying particular attention to B&P 7028.15 which calls for fines of between 200.00 and 15,000.00 for failing to check the contractors state licensing board before giving any work to any contractor.

      If William Vickery is keeping these entities on board, I suggest that he be the first recipient of one of these $15,000.00 citations and would urge the contractors state licensing board to immediately cite Mr. Vickery without further delay.

      Under 7028 all contracts entered into by any political subdivison or any government entity with any unlicensed entity are null and void.

      There is no contract with AGS and there is no contract with “Team Jacobs” as per public law.

      I’m not even a land shark – but I can plainly read the law.

      This is why this is a cover up that will blow up in the AOC’s face.

  6. Only when employers know that their employees are being encouraged to detect and report fraud – and when those employees have effective legal protections and rewards – will employers undertake the kinds of voluntary reforms necessary to create a change in culture that will save the taxpayers billions of dollars.

    Or when a higher authority steps in.

  7. “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell

  8. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    What is worse here is that the AOC is misrepresenting that the other entity is duly licensed and I would guess their next move to be to terminate the contract with AGS and give the whole state contract to the big fraudsters – the still unlicensed “Team Jacobs.”

    Remember, this whistleblower was told that the potential value of the contract with the AOC is 9 billion dollars and that if he valued his freedom, his life and his job, he should consider dropping his complaint and lying low.

    As recently as December 9th – YESTERDAY – he has been advised by other AOC employees to be incredibly careful about his movements and consider that high powered rifles can take him out from a distance.

    In an effort to protect this whistleblower, whose name has already been exposed in this thread, he has instructed the media to GO PUBLIC WITH HIS NAME AND HIS STORY.

    This whistleblowers name is Michael Paul, a Senior Technical Analyst within AOC Information Services who is tasked with working with OCCM’s Office of Court Construction & Management. He is the principal designer and integrator of judicial branch IT systems statewide and well known to many.

    We understand that Michael Paul is currently in hiding and genuinely fears for his life having been warned several times that his life is in danger because of all he knows.

  9. AG investigating court facilities contractor
    The attorney general’s office is investigating allegations that a private company hired to manage and maintain courthouses around the state does not have a legally required contractor’s license.

    A spokeswoman for AG Jerry Brown confirmed that investigators are looking into Aleut Global Solutions, or AGS, which has a contract with the Administrative Office of the Courts to service court facilities in Northern California. AGS is one of three companies retained by the AOC to maintain hundreds of buildings that have transferred from county control to the state.

    Although the original 2006 contract with AGS, previously known as TekStar, required the company to possess a contractor’s license, nobody at the AOC checked to see that it did. A spokesman for the Contractors State Licensing Board said AGS does not appear in its licensing log.

    Also, the license of a second contractor, Jacobs Facilities Inc., lapsed at some point during its three-year agreement to maintain Southern California courthouses, AOC officials said this week. The work was transferred to a related company, which has a valid license, officials added.

    The AOC employee who blew the whistle on the contracts, after the jump

    These license snafus were brought to light by Michael Paul, a senior technical analyst with the AOC. Paul said he took his concerns to lawmakers last week after AOC officials failed to investigate concerns he raised about the contractors in July.
    AOC executive Bill Vickrey quickly responded to Paul’s allegations by telling Judicial Council members in an email that Paul’s actions were “entirely appropriate” and that payments to the two contractors have been withheld pending the investigation.

    Paul, who remains employed at the AOC, has spoken with attorneys and said he may pursue a qui tam action under the False Claims Act. He disputes Vickrey’s assertion that the AOC “promptly” reviewed his complaints.

    Asked how much the AOC has paid the companies under the contract, spokesman Peter Allen said only that “costs vary with the number of buildings transferred.” As a result of the problems with AGS, the AOC now reviews the validity of licenses before contracts are executed and whenever they’re amended, he said.

    — Cheryl Miller

  10. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Oopsie.

    It appears that “Team Jacobs” suddenly never existed!

    Imagine that…..

    No further reference at the AOC is to be made with respect to Team Jacobs or TJ or any similar hint towards that name in any field office, in any AOC office and anywhere else Team Jacobs might have existed “in your imagination.”

    Anyone having any document, proposal, RFQ or trace evidence as to the existence of Team Jacobs is urged to email those trace documents to obiwan.kenobi@yahoo.com

    Ladies and gentlemen this has turned into a cover-up that directly involves the Judicial Council themselves.

    It appears Mr. Paul is onto something big.

  11. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Let me correct that address.

    generalobiwan.kenobi@yahoo.com

  12. Cheryl Miller is reporting that the JC sued AGS on Monday. I found this interesting on the AGS web page:

    AGS Customers & Partners –

    Our list of happy customers and business partners continues to grow. While we concentrate on the Federal market with a predominance of support to Department of Defense support, we continually seek other opportunities outside of these markets to gain additional presence and grow our portfolio of expertise. The listing below is an example of past and current customers that we continue to satisfy with our award-winning customer service philosophy…

    •State of California, Courts System
    •U.S. Air Force, Shriever AFB, CO
    •U.S. Air Force, McCord AFB, WA
    •U.S. Air Force, Onizuka, CA
    •U.S. Air Force, Hanscom AFB, MA
    •U.S. Air Force, Clear AFS, AK
    •U.S. Army, Fort Detrick
    •U.S. Army, Fort Carson, CO
    •U.S. Army, Fort Lee
    •U.S. Navy, Puerto Rico
    •NASA, Kennedy Space Center
    •NOAA, AK
    •USGS, Rocky Mountain Mapping Center, CO
    •Regional Locksmith Services, CO
    Our business teammates include outstanding companies such as…

    •Ki, LLC
    •InDyne, Inc
    •Siemens, Inc
    •Harris Corporation
    •BAE Systems
    If you’re interested in learning more about AGS teaming opportunities, please contact our Business Development Marketing department.

    Disclaimer: Logos and reference to other entities are owned by their respective owners and is in no way affiliated with the Aleut family of companies. There is no implied reference to endorsement by these entities towards Aleut or its subsidiaries.

    • San Francisco Superior Court

      Case No. CGC-09-495035

      Complant is available online to view. It looks like the JC is seeking to recover all payments made to Aleut.

  13. December 10, 2009
    Judicial Council Sues Its Unlicensed Courthouse Maintenance Company

    The Judicial Council has sued Aleut Global Solutions LLC, the Colorado Springs company that maintains Northern California courthouses, for performing work without a contractor’s license.

    The suit, filed in San Francisco Superior Court on Monday, says AGS breached its three-year-old contract with the judicial branch. The complaint seeks disgorgement of “all compensation paid to them by the Judicial Council,” a sum totaling more than $14.5 million over the life of the contract, an Administrative Office of the Courts spokesman said Thursday.

    Carole Hurst, a public relations coordinator for AGS, said the company was aware of the lawsuit but she declined to immediately comment on the allegations Thursday.

    After the jump: Downside of being an LLC, who messed up, and why is AGS still doing the work?

    The strange tale of the missing AGS license surfaced last week when AOC employee Michael Paul went public with claims that judiciary officials never acted on his complaints that AGS and another private building contractor, Jacobs Facilities Inc, were working on court facilities without proper licenses. The attorney general’s office is investigating the matter. Paul is now pursuing a claim under the False Claims Act.

    AOC officials say they took AGS executives at their word that they possessed the right papers. But no one in the AOC ever checked. AGS does not have a contractor’s license and, by law, the state doesn’t issue such licenses to limited liability companies like AGS, said Contractors State Licensing Board spokesman Rick Lopes.

    So why didn’t anyone ever check on AGS? And who should have? AOC Chief Deputy Director Ronald Overholt said he doesn’t know.

    “We’re anxious to find this out,” Overholt said. “That’s what the attorney general is tracking down.”

    The AGS contract snafu raises a lot of questions about the branch’s ability to oversee the hundreds of courthouses and other buildings that have recently transferred from county control to the Judicial Council. So far, the AOC hasn’t provided a lot of answers, other than noting that litigation is now pending.

    Perhaps surprisingly, AGS continues to manage its fleet of courthouses, even though the AOC is not paying any invoices pending the outcome of the attorney general’s investigation.

    “The dispute is not about the quality of their work,” Overholt said.

    The AOC has a contingency plan in place for building maintenance should the attorney general advise the branch to stop working with AGS, Overholt said.

    — Cheryl Miller

    • Quote

      “The AOC has a contingency plan in place for building maintenance should the attorney general advise the branch to stop working with AGS, Overholt said.”

      Business and Professions Code Sec. 7028:

      (a) It is a misdemeanor for any person to engage in the
      business or act in the capacity of a contractor within this state
      without having a license therefor, unless the person is particularly
      exempted from the provisions of this chapter.

      A couple of questions:

      – Let’s say you are the PJ of a medium sized court in the Central Valley. You pulll into the the parking lot and see AGS employees unloading their truck to complete that little project they started last week. You know AGS is unlicensed and that they are committing a crime. How quickly do you tell court security not to let the AGS staff into the facility?

      – Let’s say you are AGS. You know you are unlicensed and have been sued by the AOC. You also know you will not be paid for any work performed while you remain unlicensed. OCCM calls you out to repair a fence damaged in the recent storm. How quickly do you get to the courthouse so you can not only commit a misdemeanor, but also incur expenses in the form of labor and materials for which you will never be paid?

      – The AG of the State of California has not yet advised the AOC to stop contracting with an unlicensed contractor, who the AOC has sued for being unlicensed? That is a little hard to believe.

      – What is the “contingency plan”?

      – Has the AOC told PJs and CEOs that it sued maintenance contractor for their facility?

      – Why isn’t Cheryl Miller on the AOC payroll? She and Amy Yarborough of the DJ provide more information to AOC employees and trial courts than the leadership of the AOC does?

      • Take a peek at 7028.15 (e)(f) &(g) and make the self-determination as to whose responsibility it is to check a license.

  14. “So why didn’t anyone ever check on AGS? And who should have? AOC Chief Deputy Director Ronald Overholt said he doesn’t know.

    “We’re anxious to find this out,” Overholt said. “That’s what the attorney general is tracking down.”

    Good job with that new anxiety, Ron. A phone call could have “tracked down” the information in 2006.

    • Am I truly reading this correctly? (shocked) Ron Overholt is actually saying that the AG is “tracking down” why it is that the AOC wasn’t responsible in performing their duties? Shouldn’t they be looking in the mirror for that information, and not to some third-party?

      And, this still doesn’t address the issue of them knowing about the unlicensed contractors for how long and still not doing a damn thing about it!

  15. I am more than concerned that the AOC seems to be running to the AG to clean up its messes. Don’t they have a fleet of attorneys who can advise the folks who draw up contracts, or are they not allowed to talk to each other? Under the Public Contract Code, every school district in California is under greater control on bidding and contracting than the AOC is, and the AOC has contracts that impact courts in 58 counties.

    It’s frightening to think what may come up next, but I have no doubt: it will.

  16. My complaint includes a company that has been erased as thoroughly as if it had entered the witness protection program named “team jacobs” an unlicensed joint venture between ABM and Jacobs Engineering Group.

    If you have any knowledge of Team Jacobs or ABM personnel working on any project in your court houses over the last three years, feel free to contact me.

    Michael_paul AT michaelpaul.net

    Two law firms and investigative media are working together to get to the bottom of this.

  17. On a casual note:

    I have a site survey with an AGS engineer this coming monday and a meeting with Jacobs scheduled for tomorrow.

    This should prove interesting.

  18. You are a brave man, Michael. I know how tiring it can be to hammer against the machine until you have no energy and every cell in your body is exhausted. But you are not alone. When laws have been broken, justice will prevail.

  19. Michael Paul:

    According to Obi you’re currently in hiding in fear for your life. Obviously, this isn’t the case. I do wonder how you’re able to continue to work at the AOC and meet with an AGS engineer and Team Jacobs given the circumstances. I mean, it must be beyond uncomfortable. For everyone. I’m sure people are waiting with abated breath as to the outcome of your meetings.

  20. Michael Paul:

    I should have asked in my previous post……

    What do you mean by the statement below? Specifically, your use of the word “erased?” If they’ve been erased, why are you meeting with them? I guess I’m trying to understand whether they’re still performing work for the AOC or not.

    “My complaint includes a company that has been erased as thoroughly as if it had entered the witness protection program named “team jacobs” an unlicensed joint venture between ABM and Jacobs Engineering Group.”

    • John Henry: hammering against the machine is effortless when you’ve in essence already made your case.

      I disagree that this matter was promptly handled until such time that my my email hit Vickery, Overholt and Chief Justice George’s inbox about a week ago.

      There have been suggestions that my life is in jeopardy over what I know and that I need to be looking out for those who would wish to protect a contract whose potential value is 9 billion dollars.

      Team Jacobs, according to AOC management does not exist and has never existed.

      Hence, the comment about being erased as thoroughly as if they had entered the witness protection program and my request for any shread of evidence that proves they existed anywhere within California’s Judicial Branch.

      As for Jacobs and AGS, I would imagine them to be much less comfortable than myself. I’m not the one that has to pay every dime I earned over the last 3 years back to the State of California, nor do I have two litigation firms breathing down my neck nor a dozen investigative reporters.

  21. That’s B&P 7028.15

  22. 7028.15. (a) It is a misdemeanor for any person to submit a bid to
    a public agency in order to engage in the business or act in the
    capacity of a contractor within this state without having a license
    therefor, except in any of the following cases:
    (1) The person is particularly exempted from this chapter.
    (2) The bid is submitted on a state project governed by Section
    10164 of the Public Contract Code or on any local agency project
    governed by Section 20103.5 of the Public Contract Code.
    (b) If a person has been previously convicted of the offense
    described in this section, the court shall impose a fine of 20
    percent of the price of the contract under which the unlicensed
    person performed contracting work, or four thousand five hundred
    dollars ($4,500), whichever is greater, or imprisonment in the county
    jail for not less than 10 days nor more than six months, or both.
    In the event the person performing the contracting work has agreed
    to furnish materials and labor on an hourly basis, “the price of the
    contract” for the purposes of this subdivision means the aggregate
    sum of the cost of materials and labor furnished and the cost of
    completing the work to be performed.
    (c) This section shall not apply to a joint venture license, as
    required by Section 7029.1. However, at the time of making a bid as a
    joint venture, each person submitting the bid shall be subject to
    this section with respect to his or her individual licensure.
    (d) This section shall not affect the right or ability of a
    licensed architect, land surveyor, or registered professional
    engineer to form joint ventures with licensed contractors to render
    services within the scope of their respective practices.
    (e) Unless one of the foregoing exceptions applies, a bid
    submitted to a public agency by a contractor who is not licensed in
    accordance with this chapter shall be considered nonresponsive and
    shall be rejected by the public agency. Unless one of the foregoing
    exceptions applies, a local public agency shall, before awarding a
    contract or issuing a purchase order, verify that the contractor was
    properly licensed when the contractor submitted the bid.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, unless one of the
    foregoing exceptions applies, the registrar may issue a citation to
    any public officer or employee of a public entity who knowingly
    awards a contract or issues a purchase order to a contractor who is
    not licensed pursuant to this chapter. The amount of civil penalties,
    appeal, and finality of such citations shall be subject to Sections
    7028.7 to 7028.13, inclusive. Any contract awarded to, or any
    purchase order issued to, a contractor who is not licensed pursuant
    to this chapter is void.
    (f) Any compliance or noncompliance with subdivision (e) of this
    section, as added by Chapter 863 of the Statutes of 1989, shall not
    invalidate any contract or bid awarded by a public agency during
    which time that subdivision was in effect.
    (g) A public employee or officer shall not be subject to a
    citation pursuant to this section if the public employee, officer, or
    employing agency made an inquiry to the board for the purposes of
    verifying the license status of any person or contractor and the
    board failed to respond to the inquiry within three business days.
    For purposes of this section, a telephone response by the board shall
    be deemed sufficient.

  23. peppermintpattie

    All those lawyers in OGC, and no one made sure to comply with the law and verify that there was a valid contractor’s license? Anyone know for certain that they’re actually licensed to practice law? Maybe Bill Vickrey, Ron Overholt, and the AOC just took their “word” for it too? It certainly would explain a few things.

    And as for Bill Vickrey and Ron Overholt and the AOC utilizing Mr. Dunn to act as the Judicial Branch representative to try and “repair” the Branch’s and the AOC’s relationship with the Legislature, isn’t that Mr. Vickrey’s and Mr. Overholt’s job? If Vickrey and Overholt’s credibility is now so non-existent that they have to use someone else to do their job, why are they still there and still getting paid? And do Vickrey and Overholt and the AOC really believe that they can actually “repair” their complete lack of credibility at this point?

    And just where is the Chief Justice in all of this?

  24. peppermintpatty to answer “where is the chief in all of this?” One word: denial

  25. Simple question:

    How can Mr. Dunn be providing services to the AOC when I thought there was a hiring freeze?

    Also, please note that the AOC is suing only 1 party of the 2 that are unlicensed, perhaps in an attempt to direct attention away from the bigger rotten fish in the barrel? The one that, if you check, according to what I hear, is the one that is widely known for their incompetence.

    So much, in fact, that they really should have already been sued on that issue, alone. Team Jacobs, the miraculously disappearing entity, is who I speak of.

    Apparently, the AOC has a desire to be a magician, for they sure attempt to make things disappear on a regular basis if it doesn’t suit their cause!

  26. Follow-up:

    To answer my own question, from what I hear, the AOC gets around the hiring freeze by paying a “consulting fee”….which, technically isn’t officially “hiring”….in hopes that the problem will go away.

    What would the price tag be on that particular consulting contract? In light of Mr. Paul’s allegations, and the stories I’m hearing from reliable sources that support same, I would think it would be an astronomical figure!

  27. I see on the Cal Law blog that AOC employee Michael Paul has retained legal counsel to assist him in dealing with the AOC. He should know that according to leaks from inside the Office of the General Council, the AOC’s strategy in dealing with employees like him is to hire pricey outside attorneys (apparently there aren’t enough lawyers within the AOC) who will use any and all tactics to delay the wheels of justice and make his efforts to right a wrong cost him as much as possible. These people never play nice.

  28. I know the AOC hires the best legal counsel your taxpaying money can buy. I am still an AOC employee and with indictments for malfeasance, I can likely STAY an AOC employee and I truly love my job.

    This is why I am hoping anyone and everyone get on the phone and calls their local FBI offices and U.S. Attorneys Offices and demand an investigation – including FMU employees below the rank of “Manager”

    OCCM-FMU NCRO Headquaters: 2860 Gateway Oaks Parkway, Sacramento, California

    FBI Sacramento 916-481-9110
    US Attorney Sacramento – Benjamin Wagner
    916-554-2700

    AOC Headquarters455 Golden Gate

    FBI San Francisco 415-553-7400
    US Attorney San Francisco – Joseph Rusonello -415-436-7200

    AOC SRO Burbank
    FBI Los Angeles 310-477-6565

  29. Another thought –

    Everyone should note that the AOC did not express their appreciation for me saving the equivalent of 143 years of my salary with the AGS filing.

    AOC did not discover squat. I told them and then moved before AGS could set up a puppet to transfer that contract to.

    • “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” — George Orwell.

      Michael Paul, you have the appreciation and heartfelt gratitude of every AOC employee who has a conscience, as well as former AOC employees who also had a conscience and tried to tell the truth. And while the AOC hasn’t thanked you or acknowledged you for doing the right thing, the public they are supposed to serve certainly does.

  30. I just got a call from a concerned AOC employee.

    Let me be frank.

    The AOC is filled with wonderful, wildly intelligent people that work hard and do the right thing. I like to believe myself to be amongst this group of hardworking, dedicated employees.

    I truly love the AOC. I love most all of the people I work with day in and day out. It was just described to me that many AOC employees will view what I have exposed as a “slap in the face”.

    This was never, ever my intent. For 5 months I worked quietly behind the scenes to try to assist the AOC in recovering a very large sum of money – MY TAX DOLLARS – and they didn’t appear to want any part of it.

    Its my hope that someone goes through the AOC and weeds out the bad apples so the cream of the crop can move forward on our mission to serving the courts for the benefit of ALL californians and not those that break the law.

    We’re better than that.

    We represent Justice.

    And sometimes – and this is one of those times, an organization MUST step back and evaluate all that has transpired.

    Those responsible must be held accountable so that the rest of us don’t continue to be tarnished for the misdeeds of a few.

    To let this situation continue to fester without a cure would subject the judicial branch to even more liability. It would continue to foster the mistrust of the trial courts in the AOC and most importantly, the public that we all serve.

    I have put the AOC as a whole at a crossroads.

    Do we want to do the right thing or do we want to do the expedient thing?

    I have served the people for some 20 years as a public servant. I don’t do this for the money. I do this because I care.

    The question I wish to ask of every AOC employee is – do you care as much as I do?

    If you do, than I submit that we should ALL urge the AOC to do the right thing by the people of the state of california.

    I was placed in an ethical bind by the AOC. Should I knowingly participate in violating public law because it was an easy thing to do by accepting 189,000.00 sole-source bid from Team Jacobs, whom I knew had no license or should I go based on the approximately 80K cost estimates and attempt to save the taxpayers 100 grand by requesting that an RFP be issued?

    I submit, I may make minor infractions of the law, such as parking citations and maybe a ticket here and there – but I want no part in the people of the State of California being fleeced by an unlicensed contractor and having any culpability whatsoever in those misdeeds.

    And I am sure you will agree that you would not want to be placed in a similar positon.

    Everyone in IS will attest to me being beyond hawkish with state funds and I believe this has been WELL established. I make a real attempt every year to save the taxpayers at least double what my salary costs the people and I have been very successful in those endeavors.

    I respectfully ask all AOC employees to take a deep breath and then ask that we all do the right thing – even if it isn’t easy.

    God knows this is probably the most difficult decision I have ever undertaken in my life and it took me 18 months of studying the situation from all angles before I did what I believed was the right thing.

    I still believe it IS the right thing and I realize, there will be a little pain involved.

    For this, ALL AOC employees have my sincerest of apologies.

    • justinianscode

      “Be always sure you are right – then go ahead.”
      Davy Crockett

      There are those who will be hurt by your decisions. Some will be hurt as a type of emotional response to all that is going on, including your actions. Others will be hurt because … well, because it hurts when one’s mistakes are exposed. While we can sympathize with the former and perhaps pity the latter, I do not think an apology is called for in either case.

      Non illegitimi carborundum.

  31. Mr. Paul, There is no reason you should apologize. As a long time AOC rank and filer, it is encouraging to see you making a difference and to witness your success in drawing attention to AOC improprieties and waste where others, your former co-workers who sought to do the same, have been dismissed, ignored, and discounted. I believe your action in focusing attention on the way the AOC has sometimes done business vindicates their sacrifices. Nobody in their right mind should interpret what you have done as an attempt to destroy the AOC, which as you say “is filled with wonderful, wildly intelligent people that work hard and do the right thing.” Rather, just the opposite. I for one believe that what you are doing will ultimately help to restore confidence in the AOC, and in the courts of California. In the words of Frederick Douglass, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” Thank you for giving voice to so many of us at the AOC. Thank you for voicing that demand.

  32. Michael Paul shouldn’t feel the need to apologize, but being the stand-up, respectful guy I know him to be, it doesn’t surprise me to see him do this. What courage and strength he possesses to have endured this and not have allowed them to beat him down into silence. Thank you!

    The people who should be apologizing are those who put him in this position. It’s beyond outrageous!

    I know Michael, just like many other good AOC employees, makes sacrifices regularly for their employer in the hope of making a difference. It pains me to see the lack of gratitude the AOC management (for the most part) has for these valuable people.

    It’s definitely time for a house cleaning, and while I mean no disrespect, I believe it needs to start from the top and work its way down.

  33. I don’t feel like Michael Paul has slapped me in the face. In fact it’s like I just got a nice pat on the back. In an environment where accountability has often been PR window dressing, his stand congratulates those of his AOC team mates that have been striving to do right for years, sometimes without much encouragement. Michael’s call to action has given old cynics like me new hope that maybe, just maybe, things around here might get cleaned up.

  34. oldtimer38: Agreed and this “call to action” can only happen if people band together and step up to the plate to help wherever they can to right the wrong! If ever there was a time, it is now!

    Michael has put quite a bit on the line here, just as some previous employees have also done, so this time please don’t let it be in vain, folks! If I know Michael, it won’t be! He’s an exceptionally brillant man with a good heart!

    However, I also suspect that, even with all of the facts that have come to light, it’s still just the tip of the iceberg. Thus, piecing it all together can only happen if people continue to step forward and do whatever they need to do, contact whoever they need to contact in order to get things done, and done right! There is power in numbers and now is not the time for silence.

  35. Michael (or whoever knows):

    If the AOC is saying that “Team Jacobs” never existed, where has that money gone to and who set up the payments? Has the AG also filed a suit against Jacobs on behalf of the AOC?

  36. Claire Voyant: While it’s probably best for Michael, or someone else in the know, to respond to your inquiry, you might find your answer as to the AG filing suit against Team Jacobs here where Mr. Paul reveals much (see his posting at the bottom of the original article):

    http://legalpad.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/12/judicial-council-sues-its-unlicensed-courthouse-maintenance-company.html?cid=6a00d8341d052253ef0128764f7ce1970c