Billions to Spend
How a $5.7 billion program to rebuild L.A. community colleges went astray.
Classrooms were overcrowded. Athletic facilities were decrepit. Seismic protections were outdated. Leaders of the Los Angeles Community College District decided to remake the nine campuses for the 21st century. They promised rigorous oversight of costs and quality. But a Times investigation found that tens of millions have gone to waste.
A pattern of chaotic management, costly blunders and hiring of relatives emerges from interviews and thousands of pages of internal e-mails.
Crooked cabinet doors, faulty plumbing and a lack of temperature controls mar Valley College's health and science complex. Newly opened, it needed extensive repairs.
Times reporters Gale Holland and Michael Finnegan discuss their 18-month investigation of the construction program.
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The trustees rely largely on contractors, college employees and unions to fund their election campaigns. Many political donors received contracts in the construction program. The searchable database shows the sources of political money and which donors have contracts.
Revelations about abuses in Los Angeles Community College District's $5.7-billion building program show the importance of voting in March 8 trustees' races.
Former Mission College vice president Karen Hoefel was overseeing a multimillion-dollar campus construction program in which her family's company was hired as a subcontractor.
Chancellor Daniel LaVista says he'll work with the board to review the district's ethics code, conflict-of-interest standards, system for awarding contracts, and planning and oversight of the $5.7-billion construction program.
Larry Eisenberg has led the $5.7-billion bond-financed project since 2003. A Times investigation found that poor planning, shoddy workmanship and other factors cost tens of millions of dollars.
After the L.A. district repairs the shoddy construction, it should fix its management flaws.
The committee will examine costs and the system of checks and balances in the $5.7-billion bond-funded project. Critics say the new effort does not go far enough.
Unanimous decision by college trustees avoids cost and delay of trying to dismiss Larry Eisenberg without pay, a board member says.
Kelly C. Candaele
Documentary film-maker, consultant to labor groups
Background: Former policy director for the L.A. County Federation of Labor
Trustee since: 1997
57, Eagle Rock
Retired political science professor Glendale Community College
Background: Close ally of faculty unions
Trustee since: 1999
69, Beverly Hills
Board president. Former Planned Parenthood public affairs director
Background: West San Fernando Valley deputy for then-Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan
Trustee since: 1998
Former N.Y. Stock Exchange auditor
Background: Only trustee who has not collected campaign contributions from contractors working on the bond program
Trustee since: May 2009
Environmental advocate, producer and host of educational programming for TV and radio
Background: Former Green Party activist
Trustee since: 2001
Consultant, state Assembly Democratic caucus
Background: Managed the 2009 congressional campaign of Rep. Judy Chu (D-Monterey Park)
Trustee since: 2008
59, Highland Park
Former Cal State L.A. administrator and executive recruiter for colleges
Background: Long active in Eastside politics
Trustee since: 1999