Sole Dapplegray Bid Raises Some Questions

Guess who submitted the only bid on Oct. 28 for the lease of the 43-acre Dapplegray School site owned by the Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District? A real estate agent who specializes in buying residential properties in Palos Verdes for Japanese investors. Simon Hui says he wants to start up an English language boarding school for Japanese students on the site. (Zoning is restricted to institutional use.)

Even though the bid was for half the minimum price and for 25 years longer than the maximum term specified in the bid package, incumbent Jack Bagdasar announced that the school board would consider the offer on Monday night. Not only that, Hui wants the district to loan him $1.5 million and will not pay a penny to the district until the school opens sometime in late 1992 or early 1993. He even gets his $35,000 deposit back if he can’t get the zoning changed to allow for dormitory and residential use by July, 1992. Essentially, Hui gets a 30-year option on this valuable 43-acre site without paying a dime for eight months. Why would the school board even consider a noncompliant bid like this?

State law requires that school leases be offered at competitive bidding. Yet, after the bidding an interested party complained about not being told that the district would consider bids below the minimum price and for a longer term. Could this be why only one bid was submitted?

Since Hui won’t make any lease payments until late 1992 or early 1993, the district has nothing to lose by starting over and doing it right. In order to get the most competitive price, our school board must give others the chance to submit bids for 30 years. Is it even lawful for the district to consider a noncompliant bid without giving everyone else an equal chance? It’s certainly not ethical.




Rolling Hills Estates