AOC Employee Alleges “Waste and Abuse”

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – Millions of tax dollars are being wasted on court construction and maintenance projects, an employee of the administrative arm of California’s judicial branch claims in Superior Court. Michael Paul claims that his complaints about “a cover-up of fraud, waste and abuse happening within the judicial branch” fell on deaf ears.

Paul, a senior technical analyst for the Administrative Office of the Courts, claims the AOC hired unlicensed contractors to update and repair a Riverside courthouse’s computer-based electrical system and overpaid them hundreds of dollars.

The seven contractors named in his complaint include Jacobs Management Co., Jacobs Facilities and American Building Management.

Paul claims that from December 2007 to July 2009, he also questioned contractors who charged, and were paid, $1,000 per square foot to build courthouses. He claims the AOC facilities management team that supervised the projects ignored his emails. Paul claims that he finally received a response in 2009 from Jerry Pfab of the Office of the Court and Management, “demanding that he cease and desist from telling others about the unlicensed contractors who were overcharging.”

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16 responses to “AOC Employee Alleges “Waste and Abuse”

  1. Claire Voyant

    Is there an actual link/source for this news story? TIA

  2. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    http://www.courthousenews.com/2010/06/14/28066.htm

    (The clue was CN for Courthouse News)

  3. Claire Voyant

    Thank you.

    The AOC said in a statement that Paul’s “lawsuit is without merit and we welcome the opportunity to prove that in court. The contractors with which the AOC is doing business are now properly licensed and have been for some time.”

    Then why is everyone in litigation if it’s all one happy family? It makes no sense to me. I also have heard that OCCM and CCMS staff have been giving notice, and are getting the hell out of Dodge (AOC).

  4. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    With respect to Mr. Carrizosa’s canned and prepared statement, good luck there. It’s one thing to let them gain the proper licensure after they have been sued by the AOC.

    It’s quite another to recognise that they should have never been awarded the contracts to unlicensed contractors in the first place as they were ineligible to contract. If they were ineligible on day one or as the law says “at any time during the terms of the contractual engagement” they are ineligible today.

    I’m amazed that licensed contractors haven’t come out in droves and sued the AOC themselves for being denied their fair shot at tens of millions of dollars worth of work as the laws of the State of California allow them to do so.

    • Obi, I of course cannot and will not comment on any pending or impending lawsuit, and my observations should not in any way be taken as doing so in this instance.

      I respond generally solely on the subject of the credibility of the AOC’s press releases and statements, over the past several years, on a wide variety of subjects. Basically, if they tell you the sun is shining, you better bring your umbrella.

      I vividly recall the internal email from Mr. Carrizosa to another AOC press person which the AOC sent out by mistake. It was published in the Met. News in LA. It went something like “The Alliance is correct on this point (trial court bill of rights), but good luck in selling a different version to (the Met. News).”

      I recall the incredibly lame and wholly unbelievable excuses offered by the AOC, officially and unofficially, when they drafted legislation that would enable them to select the state’s presiding judges.

      If a reporter is hired by a tobacco company, and repeatedly comes out to tout the health benefits of Camel shorts, we would laugh. The situation in these administrative agencies is no different– what seems to be important is institutional protection.

      By the way, on a different point, there are laws in this state which require various agencies to give preferential contracting status (a certain percentage of set-asides) to companies owned by or employing wounded war veterans. I am told that the AOC exempts itself from these laws. Does anyone up there know if it’s true?
      I would ask the AOC today, but a response would be likely take weeks, and I need a quicker answer. Thanks a million, everyone.

      • Claire Voyant

        CH –

        The AOC is wildly inconsistent regarding contracting practices. Here is an example of a DVBE participation form.

        http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/reference/rfp/documents/adda4.pdf

        The AOC is now asking to verify contractor status for staff to work in the San Diego Central Courthouse:

        http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/reference/rfp/sdcourthouse-risk-rfp.htm

        Call Grant Walker directly at the AOC on Thursday and ask him your questions:

        415 865 4200

        Philip Carrizosa is being used by Peter Allen, James Carroll, and Lynn Holton as a tool.

        Call Grant directly, he supervises contracts and knows the answers. If he doesn’t call you back, Call Stephen Nash at the same number. CV

      • Wendy Darling

        Many people at this point agree with you Judge Horan. Press releases from the AOC, or anything else the AOC says at this point, has about as much credibility as oil spill information from BP or financial advice from Bernie Madoff. Keep those umbrellas handy, as well as a pair of rubber boots.

  5. Obi-Wan Kenobi

    I want to know who the dolt that is legally advising the AOC because an umbrella isn’t going to protect them in the impending hailstorm that is about to be bestowed upon them from Hersh, Burton and Connolly.

    AOC: consider a year-end purchase of an M1 Abrams for this softball sized hailstorm.

    You can transfer it to the office of executive protection after these people are done with you.

    And if there is any doubt about who will prevail, please make a study of Business and Professions Codes 7025 thru 7034 and then fire the a** that is giving you the legal advice.

  6. Claire, what are the titles and roles of Peter Allan and James Carroll at the AOC? Thanks!

  7. Claire Voyant

    Peter Allen, Senior Manager, Office of Communications. He used to work for The Recorder. He has been a disaster for the AOC.

    He replaced James Carroll, who was the Manager of Office of Communications, then left, then came back as a Senior Program Analyst or something? No one quite knows what his job is, but he works for the Chief Justice? (not sure how that time is accounted for, or who pays his salary, by the way).

    Lynn Holton, Public Information Officer. Good luck finding any governance that describes the duties of that office for the state court system. Ms. Holton does press on judicial council meetings and the State Supreme Court and State Courts of Appeal (like James Carrol, how is her salary accounted for?).

    None of these people want to talk to the press about the trial courts.

  8. CH: Anyone who has ever worked with James Carroll will tell you that he is not the kind of man who would ever put a fellow human being (co-worker or total stranger) in harms way. Look higher up the AOC food chain for those specimens.

  9. Wendy Darling

    Michael Paul was fired from the AOC today. Paul was fired after he reported “bid-rigging” by subcontractos on an AOC courthouse project because he didn’t report the unlawful activity to the “right person” at the AOC.

    Another dead body of an AOC employee executed for trying to report misconduct within the AOC, do the rightr thing, and tell the truth. Another ghost of an AOC employee to wander headless in the foul smelling halls of the office of the Chief Justice and 455 Golden Gate Avenue.

    Hey State Legislature, are you paying attention? More importantly, are you actually going to do anything about it.

    Shameless and disgraceful.

  10. Give me a break! What about all of the AOC employees that never report unlawful and/or wrongful activity to anyone at any time even though they know it’s happening?? If the same standard is applied to each and every AOC employee, who would be left?

    I suggest the true reason is:

    Because Michael Paul spoke up about wrongdoing, and it didn’t matter who he spoke to, when he spoke or where it was spoken in AOC’s book, for they don’t want to hear it.

    And, who would the “RIGHT PERSON” be? The AOC can move their lips to tell you who that might be but just try to speak to them and see what happens! Absolutely nothing! (Well, besides brushing it all under the carpet!) That’s the system they have and for a reason. Reason = to shut the speaker up!

    • Paula J. Negley

      And now Mermaid, you know why the AOC employees won’t report it any more, and no one should expect them to.

      Before anyone should expect any such thing from any AOC employee, the State legislature needs to do something. But as they have all been on full notice about what is, and has been, going on at the AOC and the Judicial Branch for over a year now, and haven’t actually done anything about it, I wouldn’t be expecting anything from Sacramento.

      And if Sacramento doesn’t care to do anything about it, or anyone else in a position of authority for that matter, like Jerry Brown and the Attorney General’s office, why should anyone else, including the public employees of the California Judicial Branch?

      My advice to AOC employees remains that they close their eyes to what they see, hear, or know, no matter how egregious, unethical, or unlawful, do not speak of it, and turn and walk away, or run, as fast as they can in the opposite direction.

      And even then they won’t be safe.

      • Michael Paul

        My Suggestion?

        Follow Paula’s advice.

        You know nothing.

        And if you do know something , I can be reached at michael_paul AT michaelpaul.net or 510-684-8706. (Hint: My AOC business card has my personal phone number on it.)

  11. Michael Paul

    While history is still being written, I believe history will eventually show that Ms. Tammy Raynor of the Illinois Secretary of States’ Inspector General’s office and I have a lot in common.