Design Studio Releases Video Rebuttal to False Allegations from Great Park

Design Studio Releases Video Rebuttal to False Allegations from Great Park
Footage from City meetings raises questions about legitimacy of recent Great Park audit

Contact: Alan Ziegaus, Southwest Strategies
(858) 541-7800

SAN DIEGO (September 10, 2014) – Gafcon has issued a comprehensive, web-based video rebuttal and refutation of false and misleading allegations in a report commissioned by the City of Irvine on the Great Park project.

The false allegations stemmed from a preliminary audit report released by Hagen, Streiff, Newton & Oshiro Accountants in January that contained numerous factual inaccuracies, incorrect assumptions and speculative preliminary conclusions. The rebuttal, now available at, uses video footage from the last 10 years of Great Park Board and City Council meetings to disprove the erroneous and untrue allegations that unfairly target Gafcon and the Design Studio. Gafcon, a San Diego-based construction consultant, was a key member of the Great Park Design Studio that oversaw the Great Park’s master plan and design preparation work.

“We are extremely proud of our work on the Great Park project, which continues to be recognized for innovative and efficient planning and management, and we cannot stand idly by while the gross inaccuracies in this preliminary report damage our reputation,” said Gafcon employee Paul Najar. “We believe this video is a big step towards setting the record straight and providing a more complete picture of events and decisions surrounding the Great Park.”

Since the release of the preliminary report of findings from the ongoing audit, Gafcon has disputed every allegation contained in the report that concerned Gafcon or the Design Studio. As a supplement to the direct responses provided to the auditors, the new video contains footage and direct comments from Councilmembers and the Great Park Board, along with Board and City documents, refuting each allegation made against the Design Studio and indicating the extent to which Board and Councilmembers were involved in all decision-making related to the Park. Not only does the video show the enormous amount of transparency on the project, but it also clearly shows the oversight provided by program manager Bovis Lend Lease, Great Park Board and staff, the City Council and City staff. Gafcon extensively reviewed all meetings pertaining to the Great Park to ensure that the selected footage accurately reflects 10 years of meetings and documents, and the truth about the City’s latest investigation. Every clip in the rebuttal is cited in a bibliography, which provides a link to the full video on the City of Irvine’s website for public review.

“Since the beginning of this audit, we have cooperated with the City of Irvine and its auditors, providing hundreds of documents and responding to every question posed to us,” said Najar. “While we are confident that the findings in the preliminary report will ultimately be deemed meritless, we believe it is our duty to ensure the findings of the final report are accurate and properly presented to the City Council and to the public, which is why we prepared this video.”

Gafcon began working on the Orange County Great Park project in 2006, in conjunction with Ken Smith Landscape Architect, Inc. The two entities joined together to form the Great Park Design Studio, which served as the primary contractor during the Master Plan Design Phase and the Schematic Design Phase. Since beginning work on the Great Park project, Gafcon has cooperated with the requests of the City of Irvine, including prior audits commissioned by the City that found no material issues regarding the Design Studio or Gafcon’s performance. The Design Studio followed its contractual requirements and related directions given by the City of Irvine and the Great Park Board of Directors in a professional manner, completing the work on time and within budget. There was full oversight of the public funds on this project, and all spending was approved by the City Council and Great Park Board of Directors.

The Great Park master plan and schematic design have received numerous national awards from key organizations for planning and vision, including the Southern California Association of Governments 2010 4th Annual Compass Blueprint Recognition Award-Honorable Mention, American Institute of Architects 2009 AIA Honor Award in Regional and Urban Design, the American Society of Landscape Architects 2009 ASLA Professional Honor Award for General Design, the American Planning Association (National) 2009 APA Focused Planning Issue Award, the American Society of Landscape Architects 2009 National Award for Research, the American Institute of Architects 2008 AIA Honor Award in Regional & Urban Design, the American Society of Landscape Architects 2008 ASLA National Honor Award for Analysis & Planning, American Planning Association (California and OC Chapters) 2008 APA Focused Planning Issue Award, California Society for Ecological Restoration 2007 SERCAL Members Award, and selected as part of the 2008 Sustainable Sites Initiative Case Study.

About Gafcon
Gafcon is one of Southern California’s most respected construction consulting firms with more than 100 employees and offices in San Diego and Los Angeles. A family-owned business, Gafcon has a long history of involvement in the Southern California region and has successfully overseen more than $4 billion worth of construction projects on time and within budget, providing continual transparency to clients, public entities, oversight committees and taxpayers.