Crime & Justice

2 Pasadena City College administrators' homes, offices searched in bribery probe

Pasadena City College. Two administrators are being investigated for bribery charges.
Pasadena City College. Two administrators are being investigated for bribery charges.
prayitno/Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office investigators searched the office and homes Thursday morning of two high-ranking administrators at Pasadena City College, the Pasadena Star-News reports. The administrators are being investigated over whether the two men solicited bribes for a school contract, the L.A. Times reports; the contract was apparently never awarded.

The officials in question are Richard van Pelt, vice president of administrative services, and Alfred Hutchings, facilities supervisor, according to a statement read by Pasadena City College President Mark Rocha at a press conference Thursday afternoon.

Van Pelt and Hutchings were both placed on administrative leave Thursday morning, according to Rocha. "The potential charges against these two individuals are very serious and require vigorous and immediate action by the District," Rocha said.

Rocha said that the news "angered and saddened all of us." No charges have been filed against the men.

The district attorney notified the college on Tuesday that it was going to serve search warrants to the officials. The college was first notified about the investigation over a month ago, on May 7.

"If our own investigation reveals improper conduct or violations of District policy, then I will recommend to our Board of Trustees the termination of these two employees," Rocha said.

According to Rocha, van Pelt and Hutchings were the only employees identified as targets of the investigation.

A preliminary internal review revealed that the city college's funds were properly accounted for, according to Rocha. An outside accounting firm has also been hired to perform a forensic audit, as well as serving as an interim finance team.

A district attorney's office spokeswoman confirmed that it was a bribery investigation, but could not confirm that a contract was involved.

Rocha said that Pasadena City College has cooperated fully with the district attorney's investigation.

Statement by PCC College President Mark Rocha

Note: Pasadena Area Community College District (PACCD), which operates Pasadena City College (PCC), owns the broadcast license for 89.3 KPCC, Pasadena.

Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously referred to PCC vice president of administrative services Richard van Pelt as "Richard van Pelting." Thanks to our commenters for pointing out the error.