Gafcon Files State Complaint Over False Allegations and Unprofessional Practices
Gafcon Files Complaint Over False Allegations and Unprofessional Practices Flaws in report spur company to seek official recourse against firm responsible for Great Park audit
SAN DIEGO (October 30, 2014) – Gafcon, a San Diego-based company, has filed an official complaint with the California State Board of Accountancy against accounting and forensic firm Hagen, Streiff, Newton & Oshiro Accountants, PC (HSNO), based on the accounting firm’s continued pattern of ignoring facts and presenting false, misleading and incomplete information during the Great Park audit.
In a complaint filed this week, Gafcon asked the California Board of Accountancy to investigate the questionable practices of HSNO during the ongoing audit of the Great Park project. The preliminary audit report prepared by HSNO and released in January 2014 was found to contain numerous factual inaccuracies, incorrect assumptions and speculative preliminary conclusions, all of which have caused significant harm to Gafcon. The complaint outlines the false and distorted findings contained in the report, including gross misstatements that $38 million dollars of redevelopment funds were not received by the City of Irvine and that Gafcon was not properly vetted for the project.
“The deceptive allegations and misleading half-truths contained in the preliminary report have damaged our company and our valued employees,” said Gafcon employee Paul Najar. “The irresponsible manner in which the report was publicly released, without due process or a shred of evidence, is unprofessional and dangerous. Despite ample opportunity, HSNO has not come forward to correct the many factual errors in the preliminary audit report. Therefore, we have asked the Board of Accountancy to investigate HSNO’s work and the processes and methodology that led to such inaccurate and erroneous results.”
The damaging allegations in the preliminary report were released without supporting evidence. Additionally, HSNO did not offer Gafcon an opportunity to respond to the allegations before publishing them and disregarded Gafcon’s offers to cooperate until after the preliminary report was released, while publicly claiming that Gafcon was unresponsive to the audit.
Gafcon was a key member of the Great Park Design Studio that oversaw the Great Park’s master plan and design preparation work. Gafcon has thoroughly refuted every false allegation concerning Gafcon and the Design Studio in a video rebuttal, available for viewing at www.greatparktruth.com, using footage from the last 10 years of Great Park Board and City Council meetings.
“Two previous audits and over-the-shoulder review conducted by Program Manager Bovis Lend Lease found nothing wrong with Gafcon’s work on the project,” said Najar. “The people of Irvine deserve to know why City funds are being used to support a redundant and mismanaged audit. Auditors must adhere to the highest industry standards, and when that is not the case, it is our duty to hold them accountable for the work they produce and the damage they cause.”
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.
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.