Controller to audit LAUSD's $20B contruction program

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The top auditor for the city of Los Angeles has agreed to investigate conflict of interest allegations in the L.A. Unified School District’s $20 billion school construction program.

L.A. Unified’s superintendent asked L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel to look into allegations that owners of construction management companies working for the district made money by hiring people from their own private companies.

That’s the substance of a nine-count L.A. County grand jury indictment against one school district senior project manager. His lawyer denied the allegations.

Connie Oser, with the Teamsters local that represents L.A. Unified construction supervisors, said she’s pointed out these problems to L.A. Unified administrators for years. "There’s a lot of abuse with consultants, they don’t go through any kind of a system you can check if the people they’re bringing on board actually have the qualifications for these jobs, yet they’re paid three times the amount."

Oser said some Teamster supervisors have lost out because owners of the private companies hire their own.

An audit L.A. Unified’s inspector general released last year found that consultants within the district’s facilities division routinely hired and promoted people from their own companies. A spokesman for L.A. Controller Greuel said her office would begin to assemble the audit team next week.