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Contract Ban for Private Jailer Opposed : Don’t Bar Cornist From State Bidding, Parole Official Says

Times Staff Writer

A state Parole Division supervisor has recommended that the state not bar a San Diego private jail operator from competing for lucrative halfway-house contracts, despite the man’s recent imprisonment for hoodwinking a Municipal Court judge.

However, the parole official said Wednesday he had urged top-level department officials to take private jailer Glen Cornist’s continuing legal problems into consideration if he seeks further state business.

Cornist, who for years has contracted with the state to run a Southeast San Diego halfway house for state prison inmates, is serving a 180-day jail term for his third drunk-driving conviction in little more than a year.

Presiding Judge Thomas Gligorea of the South Bay Municipal Court initially had ordered Cornist to serve 120 days in a private work-furlough program. But an infuriated Gligorea last month ordered Cornist locked up after learning that Cornist had founded and operated the work-furlough program in which he was placed.

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“I think I was had, to put it mildly,” Gligorea said at the time.

The imbroglio led the Parole Division to reevaluate its contract with Model Ex-Offenders Inc., the halfway house for state prisoners that Cornist founded in the 1970s. Model Ex-Offenders was paid about $350,000 under the contract in the year ending June 30 and could collect as much as $445,000 this year.

Mike Badstubner, the Parole Division official in Santa Ana who supervises Model Ex-Offenders’ state contract, said Wednesday that his investigation determined that Cornist had cut his ties to the nonprofit company, resigning as executive director Aug. 18 “due to some personal problems.”

On that account, Badstubner said, he recommended to top department officials last week that Model Ex-Offenders be allowed to retain its halfway house contract.

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Moreover, Badstubner said he urged that Cornist, who has incorporated other private jailing businesses, be allowed to continue to compete for state contracts. Cornist’s legal problems would be taken into account in evaluating his competitiveness, Badstubner said, but his misdemeanor convictions and jailing “wouldn’t be something that would call for an immediate exclusion” from bidding.

“It’s obviously a very serious matter,” Badstubner said. “You have an issue where you don’t have a conviction for fraud, but what you have is comments by the judge in the case that I saw in print that indicated he felt, in essence, something had been put over the court.

“All those things are very serious to us, particularly given our line of work, and all those things have to be taken into consideration when Mr. Cornist comes up again as someone who wants to do business with us as a contractor.”

But he added, “It’s impossible to tell you that will be the factor that puts someone over the line and makes them non-competitive.”

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