Did AOC Employees Knowingly Steer Work to Unlicensed Contractor?

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.

18 responses to “Did AOC Employees Knowingly Steer Work to Unlicensed Contractor?

  1. “Silence means consent.” For AOC employees, I would be very, very careful if you choose to continue to follow this CCMS principle. Silence, pretending or deception will not help anyone if he or she receives a summons naming them as a defendant.

  2. Please note this is not limited to just being “commonly referred to within the AOC as ‘Team Jacobs'” but also represented, identified and presented to third parties by that very same partnership entity itself (Team Jacobs) as “Team Jacobs”, as the evidence will clearly show even with the AOC’s lame attempt to scrub the evidence clean! I suspect the AOC will attempt, in their never-ending cover-up saga, to take the position that “Team Jacobs” was merely a commonly used term referred to in-house only, and that’s definitely not the case!

    One can only wonder how many contracts, proposals and other communication with the name “Team Jacobs” on it are magically disappearing into thin air (or so they hope?) while they attempt to rewrite history. However, they don’t seem to realize that it’s a day late and a dollar short for that approach!

    AOC employees did, in fact, knowingly steer work to unlicensed contractors, and in the case of “Team Jacobs”, they did so knowing they perform substandard services at inflated costs, even though they were forced to turned a blind eye to the situation by their management. Those employees who attempted to question the situation were “slapped down” by management and put in a position of “do what you are told and shut up” because that’s just the way it is….

    At this stage, I highly recommend that the vunerable rank and file FMU employees contact the FBI immediately with what they know, in order to cover their butts! Surely, they have to know that their management won’t be watching their backs as this ordeal unfolds?

  3. Many have always known that John Judnick was a person to be wary of, and after reading Mr. Paul’s posting on Legal Pad it just confirms it. Many trial courts won’t let the man near their courthouses as his audits on court operations are believed to exceed the scope and authority of the AOC and the folks doing the auditing know nothing about court operations while they attempt to audit the courts operations!

    Mr. Paul’s whistle blowing and his professional, well thought out way of doing it has kicked the issue up many notches. I don’t know how the AOC can sweep his complaints and the fact that the AOC’s internal audit/complaint process is a joke, under the rug. Filing a law suit and contacting the AG AFTER the facts outlined by Mr. Paul are too little to late and in my mind, make the AOC look even worse because they knew about the lack of licensure. Good grief. I just hope the legislature and the judiciary take action on all of these scandals.

    • Dudnick audited the San Mateo County Court two years ago, part of their routine audits of each individual courts. Hey missed errors and found errors that he never had the court correct. Two years later, San Mateo makes a $4M error and as a result, guess who later audited the court? Mr. Dudnick. The audit showed that the CEO John Fitton couldn’t run a lemonade stand if he tried. The idiot is still running the court.

  4. My advice to anyone thinking of blowing the whistle at the AOC?

    Get an attorney first – or contact me and as a public service, I will provide you with said attorney.

  5. peppermint pattie

    Anyone remember all that shredding that was going on at the AOC a few weeks back? Makes one wonder if any of those documents pertaining to Jacobs Inc. ended up in the shredding bags.

  6. peppermint pattie: Have no doubt that the AOC did, in fact, shred documents relating to TEAM JACOBS. They are infamous for destroying or ATTEMPTING to destroy in this particular situation, any evidence that might shine light on the truth of their scandalous behavior.

    There are many Judges, executives and employees across the state of California in the numerous local courts who have evidence readily available to them on a local level of the existence of TEAM JACOBS. I respectfully request all of these good people take note of this fact, apply due diligence, document it accordingly, and even funnel the information in the proper direction. The evidence is piling up, but when dealing with the AOC, you just can’t possibly have too much! I can’t possibly emphasize this enough!

  7. Rumor has it the AOC has already taken punitive action against Mr. Paul for his whistleblowing. As one might expect, they are representing it as something different than what it really is in their usual typical AOC style of thanking their employees for trying to expose fraud, waste & abuse. Sad.

  8. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    We understand the same.

    SofaMan and Ernie were overheard discussing how they are going to do away with Mr. Paul

    The guy that saved them 14.5 million dollars.

    We hear that less than 24 hours later he was stripped of all of his previous responsiblities and assigned to support the organization he blew the whistle on for using unlicensed contractors!

    Now that’s gratitude!

  9. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    I should add that the AOC is probably upset that Mr. Paul interrupted their kickbacks and that it why they want him gone.

  10. Is the AOC asking for it or what!?Their arrogance knows no bounds. If you are from the press or the legislature are you listening to this? I had thought I had heard everything but these people never cease to amaze me.

    Superman where are you? Truth, justice and the american way need you.

  11. judicial observer

    The common theme at the AOC seems to be “We are the judicial branch and we are above the law.” They also appear to lack all reason, insight and common decency.

    • Good thing for checks and balances. Let’s hope that the legislative branch doesn’t fall for their recurring message of “we’re a co-equal branch” implying that the legislative branch has no authority over them. Power of the purse baby. See how much power you’ll have with no money.

      • If they are a “co-equal branch” then there shouldn’t be any objection to giving the AOC employees co-equal employment protections.

  12. Rest assured that great numbers of people are watching all of these issues closely. Many cannot comment publicly on the specifics of certain matters, however. Judges, for example, are forbidden from making public comment about pending litigation, or even impending litigation, if the comment might influence the outcome, or seem designed to do so, or could be seen as advocacy for one side, or advice to one side. The reasons for rules such as these are obvious and many, and judges must, and do, take them seriously. Further, judges are precluded from substantive conversations with represented individuals or litigants about matters for which counsel has been retained. That’s why they have counsel–to advice and protect them. There are apparently, according to press reports and reports here, at least two lawsuits, and possibly more already filed, and more likely to come. Judges must not speak on matters related thereto, no matter how tempting. We can, and are, speaking about general concerns, however, such as whistleblower protection. As you all know, it is one leg of a three-pronged legislative approach favored by the ACJ.

    Do not mistake lack of public comment on certain matter for disinterest. As I said, be assured that there is great interest about a great many of the topics addressed on this blog.

    Chuck Horan

  13. How can the AOC constantly demonstrate such abuse of power, and get by with it? Seriously, their audacity is beyond my comprehension!

    Apparently, they have possessed way too much power for way too long without being held accountable for the responsibilities attached to such power. Left unchecked, those that hold power of this magnitude will eventually lose the ability to distinguish the difference between right and wrong. Or, worse, they know the difference but do not care, perhaps because someone on the inside is receiving personal benefit that contradicts doing the right thing.

    The question at this stage is who has the power to insure that the AOC is held accountable for their indiscretions and, more importantly, will they use that power to right the wrongs here?

    I think courtflea hit the nail on the head, that the press and/or the legislature needs to step up the plate to assist in this overly atrocious situation. It’s clear that the in-house so-called whistleblower program is yet another fraud within the AOC.

  14. First Judge Horan, thank you letting us know this and giving us encouragement.

    Secondly, Michael Paul I hope you are ok and survive all of this. While we know you have regrets, please don’t forget you did the right and in so doing, you can live with yourself. As these hard days lie ahead for you don’t forget that every cloud has a silver lining and that you will eventually be rewarded for your actions. I don’t know in what form, but you will. If nothing else, please know that you are a true hero to many of us and that your example will hopefully lead others to come forward and cause the positive change that is necessary within the JC and the AOC. Thank you and you are in my thoughts.