I’ve been receiving information for some time now about problems with AOC employees assigning contracts to contractors who not only didn’t have proper licenses but who also charged more than other contractors did. And after one AOC employee had had quite enough with all of the shenanigans going on at the AOC he blew the whistle calling out the fact that two companies contracted to do maintenance work of courthouses for the AOC didn’t have proper licenses. Bill Vickrey was even forced to admit in an email that he sent out that there were problems but that the AOC was handling the matter.
Now the Daily Recorder is reporting in their Legal Pad blog that the AOC is suing Aleut Global Solutions LLC which is one of the companies in question.
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 (.pdf), 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.
But this story seems to be getting murkier by the second because I’ve been told by my followers of Themis that the AOC held an emergency telephone meeting on the 9th with all managers in the Facilities Management Unit (FMU). The meeting dealt with how to handle the problem of the maintenance company called Jacobs Project Management Co or commonly referred to within the AOC as “Team Jacobs.” (No, it’s not Twilight related so Team Edward members calm down.) Apparently the FMU department had known for two years that Team Jacobs did not have a proper license to carry out all the work it had been contracted to do. Not only that, even with that knowledge, the FMU department continued to give work to Team Jacobs which is a problem for the AOC because according to the email I received, “Facilities Management Unit Employees are all legally responsible to check licensure before issuing any contract, purchase or service work order over $500.00 in value (Business & Professions Code 7028.15) or face fines of up to $15,000.00 for each service work order issued.”
According to my source the FMU issued 11,000 service work orders for the past 3 years. Which in my estimation means all those FMU employees are in a whole heap of trouble both legally and especially financially if they get hit with a $15,000 fine for each work order.
One of the questions people will ask is who is in charge here? Where were the managers that should have noticed what was going on? Well, the contracts were approved by Business Services which happens to be a subgroup of the Finance Department. A department that is supervised by someone who not only oversees the Finance Department, but also coordinates the Office of Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. Again, according to my source, “Hopefully, this conflict of interest is clear and does well to explain how Team Jacobs vaporized into thin air in the last 48 hours and has NEVER existed.”
And in order to protect itself and its employees, all initial indications are that the AOC is working overtime to try and limit whatever damage may come its way by telling its employees NOT to mention Team Jacobs or that the AOC ever had dealings with Team Jacobs. I may not know much about PR but the little I do know makes me believe that pretending that a company or your relationship with that company never existed may not be a good PR move. But then again, maybe the AOC is taking the position of if we pretend it never happened, it never happened. It’s amazing what people can talk themselves into believing.