A similar case arose at West L.A. College. When he was president, Mark Rocha helped his wife land a job with the construction program. In an interview last year, Rocha recalled telling Eisenberg: "Hey, my wife is looking for a job. Is there anyone you know of you could refer her to?"
Notwithstanding his conversation with Eisenberg, Rocha said he "used no influence whatsoever to get my wife a job at Jacobs."
His wife referred inquiries to a Jacobs spokeswoman, who did not respond to requests for comment.
At Mission College in Sylmar, Gateway Science & Engineering, the contractor overseeing construction on the campus, hired a young man named Keith Hoefel as an intern. His mother, Karen, was then a college vice president who oversaw Gateway's work.
Karen Hoefel said she did not ask Gateway to hire her son. Keith Hoefel did not respond to requests for comment.
Illegal spending found
After Times reporters began asking questions about waste, construction errors and other problems, the trustees in November 2009 commissioned a special audit of the program by a management consulting firm, Capstone Advisory Group LLC.
Mona Field, then president of the Board of Trustees, worried about potential fallout from hiring an investigator as well-qualified as Capstone's chief auditor.
"The resume looks like overkill," Field wrote in an October 2009 e-mail to the district's interim chancellor. "Won't people believe that we suspect MAJOR fraud if we hire someone like her?"
The district has kept Capstone's findings secret, releasing only its March 2010 recommendations.
But it did follow Capstone's advice to create a whistle-blower program and a position of inspector general to investigate allegations of waste and corruption.
The board rejected applications for the position from accounting giants Deloitte Services LP and Ernst & Young and nine other firms.
Instead, it hired Policy Masters Inc., a newly formed company headed by Christine E. Marez, former director of construction policies at the Los Angeles Unified School District. Marez has no experience as an independent auditor or investigator.
From 1998 to 2003, she was a school construction manager for Gateway, a major contractor on the college district's building program. Gateway's owner, Art Gastelum, has been a leading campaign donor and fundraiser for the trustees.
In an interview, Marez said her ties to Gastelum would pose no conflict. "I would not discriminate," she said.
In addition to the Capstone audit, the district ordered a review of the program by its bond counsel, Fulbright & Jaworski. The law firm reported that millions of dollars in bond money had been spent in violation of state law.
The money went, among other things, to public relations, food, travel and aerial photography for promotional videos. The law allows bond spending only for construction and the purchase of property or furniture.
The law firm's review led officials to lay off at least 15 people, including a woman whose main job was to book speeches for Eisenberg and the trustees. Also dismissed was an avant-garde Swedish photographer hired to take what one official, in an internal e-mail, called "glamour shots" of new buildings.