AOC Adds Another Unlicensed Contractor to AOC Lawsuit

A tip of the hat to AOCW reader Wendy Darling who posted a link to this piece on the Cal Law blog.

Judicial Council Suing Another Unlicensed Contractor

It turns out the Judicial Council isn’t just suing one contractor for performing courthouse work without a license. Jacobs Facilities Inc. has unwillingly joined Aleut Global Solutions as a defendant in the Council’s multimillion-dollar litigation.

In a complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court, the Council claims that Jacobs Facilities let its contractor’s license lapse for an unspecified period of time after it was hired in 2006 to perform maintenance work at Southern California court buildings. State records show that Jacobs Facilities’ license expired in November 2008. AOC officials say that Jacobs Facilities’ parent company restructured and recently shifted the courthouse contract to a new, properly licensed entity, Jacobs Project Management Co.

The lawsuit doesn’t seek specific damages, though any payout could be significant. The Judicial Council has paid Jacobs Facilities $18.3 million for work into this year, according to the Administrative Office of the Courts.

The AOC is mum, and the whistleblower cries foul, after the jump.

A spokeswoman for Pasadena-based Jacobs did not return a phone message Friday.

Click here to continue reading.

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23 responses to “AOC Adds Another Unlicensed Contractor to AOC Lawsuit

  1. AOC NEWS RELEASE

    Mr. William Vickery, the head of the AOC, announced today that he will immediately undertake a comprehensive and exhaustive investigation into himself as to why the AOC has been employing unlicensed contractors.

    “No stone is going to be left unturned. I am going to ask tough questions of myself and demand complete answers. What did not know and when did I not know it?”

    Mr Vickery said that this investigation was too important to be left to the 100 or so attorneys employed by the AOC.

    “Some investigations are too vital to the Judiciary to be left to my minions who might screw things up. I am going to find out where I was and what I was doing and to discover my role, if any, in this mess.”

  2. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    While the filing date is indeed the same as the one for AGS, one has to believe someone rolled back a date stamp to cover their ass because this suit didn’t exist on the SFGOV site as of the date of Michael Paul’s blog entry and EVERYBODY WHO WAS ANYBODY checked.

    Just another AOC cover-up. They filed against Jacobs because all you good people out there probably disclosed “What do you mean they don’t exist?

    THEY’RE WORKING IN MY COURT HOUSE!

  3. How do you recover the funds if your contractor has already spent them? I don’t know a lot of contractors who buy gold and keep it in a safe. They spend their money on cars and girls, and if you asked them to give it back they would simply grin.

  4. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    Jacobs is a 12 billion dollar a year defense contractor whose competitors are Kellogg Brown Root and Halliburton. All entities with undeniable ties to California’s republican party.

    And who else are members of California’s republican party? How about most of those that sit on the Judicial Council of California and are appointed by the CJ.

    If the I35W bridge collapse doesn’t clean their clock – the AG will.

  5. Don’t forget Deloitte, Obi. That may turn out to be the biggest political bribe in California history.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi

      …and this is why we have come full circle and are advocating that “declaration of war” King George spoke of.

      A democratically elected Judicial Council with term limits. How this comes about is another story altogether.

      Probably one of those “dysfunctional initiatives” King George speaks of.

      Before, the JC only approved forms, rules and procedures. Today, the JC approves defense contractors.

      We all know that California’s Republican party speaks out of both sides of their butt cheeks by touting lower taxes while straddling our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren with insurmountable debt because those that are here today will be worm food long before the bills become due.

  6. Hey there Chief Scrooge:

    The reason your shrill critics blog in their slippers is that they need to keep warm after you reduced their pay.

    And just to show them who’s really boss, the Chief is withholding his traditional holiday at year’s end.

    Petulance is such an unfortunate trait in those with power. Nixon showed us that…

  7. Bob Crachitt (and all of you other creative folks here on this blog!) I must say that everyone’s ingeniousness approach is refreshing during these challenging times, and while the contributions sometimes bring a smile to my face, it is also done so in a manner that makes a serious statement.

    I *SO* wanted to make a remark about the Chief’s pajamas statement but resisted doing so, as I didn’t want to get completely off the serious topics here. But since you opened the door….

    Pajamas? “I can’t afford PJ’s because the AOC laid me off” said the court employees.

    You can bet the Chief is wearing nice, warm expensive pajamas while he is reading this blog!

  8. As of December 15th, I was ordered to end my investigation of “Team Jacobs” by IS management. Incidentally, this would be the same day that my permissions over networked systems were also revoked in that same meeting and later in the day, my counsel would serve on the AOC an evidence preservation letter.

    The resourceful individuals who work for Yen continue a 50% operational standdown ‘until justice prevails’ for the purposes of pushing through with a seperate investigation.

    I am not the COO and have no say in the matter. Its funny how media organizations work that way….

    They have identified that the sum of money involved between both contractors is somewhere in excess of 150 million dollars and as high as 250 million dollars.

    The lower number grows with their investigation. While I will continue to follow AOC instructions, the dedicated individuals who work for and with Yen continue to follow the instructions of the COO.

    I’ll just be the vehicle to express their findings.

    Keep the faith – and keep the pressure on.

    Michael Paul

  9. Court maintenance

    All of this is a huge mess and I myself will be loosing my job soon, Ags promised me the world when I went to work for them. But like everyone else working for them it all turned out to be a huge lie, now about 40 of us hard working maintenance staff will be loosing our jobs with nowhere to go because of echonomic times. It’s a horrible thing to think about every day, most of us will eventually loose our houses, cars, families etc… The only thing we have gained from this is found out how screwed up the state really is Ags will file bankrupcy and scoot on by while the rest of the hard workers that have busted our ass’s for the demanding staff in these courthouses will be left with nothing. Is there anything the Ags staff can do to start a lawsuit against them??? Feedback would be greatly appreciated

    • Gone and glad!

      Thank god is all I can say that I don’t work for AGS anymore. Never in my life have I witnessed such favoritism, discrimination, and unfairness towards employees and the customer. AGS has been working without a contractors license since the beginning of the contract. For a project that has gone through 3 project managers and has nearly lost their contract several times. It’s funny how they keep pulling the wool over the AOC’s eyes. Work orders that have been created, closed out and the work has never even been done. Honestly management is a huge joke! For a project manager who spends most of his time playing tickle me with the office lead behind closed doors and allowing the harassment, and favoritism to go in is poor at best. Maybe if the management was not too busy playing grab ass maybe they would have a better handle on the project and the contract requirements. I can only say I am proud to not represent AGS any longer, now the courts wont have to be so embarrassed to have AGS as a service provider that cant seem to get their shit together. I feel sorry for the rest of the techs who work their buts off and are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to work and a fair environment. Good luck to you all hope you don’t get shafted and can find a job when AGS goes belly up like the dying fish they are.

  10. Court maintenance

    When I stated “is there anything Ags staff can do to start a suit against them” I meant staff suit against Aleut llc ?

    • Talk to your local legislators. You may also be able to file complaints with the Contractors State License Board, the Attorney General, and the Governor. I am truly sorry if you have suffered because of this negligence.

      http://www.cslb.ca.gov/

      • I don’t profess to be a legal expert of any kind, but if AGS is an unlicensed contractor, wouldn’t that technically make the AGS employees actual statutory employees of the AOC????

        Whoa, considering the various rumors I am hearing about what is happening between AGS and their employees with regard to non-compliance with various labor related laws, what would the possible legal ramifications be on this with regard to AOC liability?

      • Court maintenance

        Mary: I thank you for your insite. I will deffinatly be looking into this, in the meantime I’ll keep at the jobhunt, I never would of left my last job had I known that Ags didn’t infact have a contractors liscence. Oh and just an FYI Ags has told it’s employees to keep there mouth shut about all of this but hasn’t infact told us anything about what is actually happening, thank the lord for your posts on here otherwise I myself and the rest of my crew wouldn’t of had anytime to look for another job. So thank you all for the heads up.

  11. Michael Paul

    I have studied this-

    Many courts in the NCRO service area utilize AGS as a service provider. As an LLC, AGS cannot ever qualify for a contractors license.

    Again, something that the AOC never thought about.

    Now, it seems to me that AGS, LLC could continue to provide basic facility maintenence services on an hourly basis for your services instead of a service work order system with the equivalent of PO’s attached to them and instead of having AGS LLC act as a contractor.

    Both AGS and Jacobs (who contracts the services from ABM) have very, very talented individuals that I don’t believe the AOC should lose. Simply, the AOC should set out to do what its various RFPs had intended to accomplish.

    I have already sent those recommendations up my AOC chain of command on December 15th as I am equally as concerned.

    If AGS and Jacobs replace light bulbs, filters, fix faucets and provide standard maintainance like their initial RFP envisioned on a fixed hourly basis for building maintainence and engineering services, then no contractors license is required.

    Its when you form the system and cut service work orders that exceed $500.00 which in essence are contracts to unlicensed contractors that you run afoul of contracting laws.

    Additionally, the AOC has pre-approved 31 LICENSED contractors statewide to utilize to provide things like facilities modifications – on a competitive bid basis no less – so again, I am perplexed as to why this work beyond building maintencence was steered to people who were never envisioned in the RFP’s to conduct construction services or had the requisite contractors licenses to do so – over a pre-qualified list of licensed contractors.

    It truly boggles the mind. So many lawyers in the AOC and the IT guy had to figure it all out.

    Nobody qualified at AGS or ABM needs to lose their jobs in my humble opinion but I believe its the best thing to jettison the act of being a sole source contractor over all of this and let the contractors do the work of contracting – instead of Jacobs and AGS.

  12. Michael Paul

    One other thing- When I was working as a federal subcontractor – the contractor changed and at the “convenience of the government” those that the government wished to retain under the new contractor were, in fact, retained.

    Perhaps the AOC could see to it that this “convenience of the government” applies to the relationships that AGS personnel have develped in- and with the individual trial courts. This is entirely new, untreaded ground for the AOC if what you say is true so it might be worth some courts advocating if they like their building maintenance guys and they do a good job.

    Just a thought and my personal opinion based on previous experiences-

  13. Court maintenance

    Have you heard any more info on this whole situation? I have followed all of your blogs to the “t” because my company has kept us all in the dark about everything and no one wants to speak up. It’s redicuoulous. I wanted to thank you for your posts so we the hard working techs that strive to keep these courts running smoothly have somewhat of an idea on what’s instore for us.

  14. Claire Voyant

    MP: I still don’t understand the liability issues of passing on unlicensed contractors into the courts. Can’t an individual court sue the AOC, or is that not allowed? Isn’t the JC/AOC a state agency, distinct from courts or individual litigants who may work in courts? I also think a legislator can ask for a federal investigation, if he or she is in possession of evidence or belief that fraud and/or incompetence may be taking place at a state agency. But that is simply in my experience. I hope the issues are resolved.

    • Claire: I have wondered about the possible legal ramifications of the AOC putting unlicensed contractors in the local courts from a liability standpoint, and how that liability might be altered or shared with other entities, once the local courts know and are fully aware that they have unlicensed contractors who continue providing services in their buildings. What if a situation arises where someone from the PUBLIC decides to sue? Has the AOC exposed the local courts to liability with regard to these possible individual litigants? One must think of these things….especially in light of the immunity and exemption the AOC seems to have created for themselves….

      I hope someone on a local level takes note of the possible scenarios in this regard. I also hope the legislature is truly prepared to dig into this whole scandalous situation and take action!

    • Claire Voyant

      I think wheels are moving everywhere. What I don’t understand is why the Chief Justice or voting members of the Judicial Council would be willing to set themselves up for this kind of liability. They are meant to be the final authority over administration of the court system. And if they have allowed their authority to be delegated to the Secretary, because Justice Huffman declared it so, then they are even accountable for that. The Judicial Council is meant to be taken seriously, not seen as a joke.

  15. I hate to say this, but in Hollywood, nepotism is everywhere. Start looking at the family names for personal connections that AOC people may have with people that work within the companies getting big contracts. For example there is a principal at Deloitte Consulting who has the same last name as a high level person at the AOC. It may just be an innocent coincidence, but often where there is smoke, there is fire. The world loves a good story. That is the fourth branch.