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Watchdog Agency Raises Questions, LAUSD Cancels $3.7M Construction Contract

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Photo by stopnlook via Flickr

Photo by stopnlook via Flickr
LAUSD has cancelled a $3.7 million contract with four long-time district consultants after a report revealed "irregularities" with the deal, according to The Daily Breeze. The Inspector General's Report was prompted by whistleblowers in LAUSD's construction program who have repeatedly raised concerns about many of the current construction contracts totaling $65 million. The four consultants in question, all working for Consilia LLC, were asked to hand over their badges and stop all work for LAUSD until the matter is more carefully reviewed. A report from a watchdog agency within LAUSD found that Consilia LLC was hired as a subcontractor and given a "lump sum" to handle construction planning for the district, which violates a district ban on using subcontractors on the primary contract.

Consilia has been working within LAUSD's massive construction program for 10 years and its primary consultants have been awarded millions in contracts, earning a reputation as the "highest paid consultants in the district's facilities department" by charging $185 to $215 per hour.

Many familiar with the district's construction program believe LAUSD's success in new school construction is due in large part to the work of Consilia and that the bigger questions should be focused on how facilities executives handle contracts, not simply which companies are awarded the contracts.

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The inspector general is now conducting a deeper investigation into Consilia and the many contracts and subcontracts underway. LAUSD Chief Facilities Executive James Sohn acknowledged on Tuesday that there were errors in the awarding of the Consilia contract, but denied any wrongdoing.