Gafcon’s Letter to the City’s Special Counsel regarding the Great Park Audit Status Update.
On October 22, 2014, Gafcon sent the below letter to the City’s Special Counsel regarding the Great Park Audit Status Update presented to the Irvine City Council on October 14. The manner in which this audit is being conducted continues to raise serious concerns about the audit’s legitimacy and impartiality. The letter reveals the omission of significant evidence by the investigators that would disprove the issues presented in the Status Update. Gafcon has already suffered substantial reputational damage from the inaccurate and false claims contained in the Preliminary Report, and it seems the investigators are continuing this pattern of ignoring the facts and presenting false, misleading and incomplete information with absolutely no evidence.
Despite Gafcon’s complete cooperation with the audit and the abundance of evidence provided to disprove every allegation against Gafcon and the Design Studio, the investigators continue to openly shun their professional and ethical obligations to release a complete and unbiased report. The letter includes substantial evidence and exhibits that disprove all five issues brought up in the Status Update. The following is a summary of the false claims and their shortcomings:
- Project Management: The claim that the project’s management lacked technical expertise ignores world-renowned Program Manager Bovis Lend Lease, which was chosen by the City through a bidding process, and discounts the Design Studio’s substantial and wide ranging design administration experience or its employees’ vast technical expertise.
- Close Out Agreement: The claim that the Close Out Agreement is not valid is completely false by alleging that the Irvine City Attorney failed to provide the Great Park Corporation Board with advanced notice of the specific terms and conditions. This claim excludes information that the City actually saved $5.4 million through the Close Out Agreement and that minutes and video from the Corporation Board meeting indicates the City Attorney fully briefed the Board on the agreement and that Board’s discussed the agreement and the Design Studio’s work in very favorable terms.
- Invoices: The claim that Forde & Mollrich’s invoices were modified after the work was performed is deceptive because these changes were made at the City’s instruction to change the billing from time and materials to a fixed fee contract.
- Political Contributions: The claim that the Design Studio may have made political contributions that were reimbursed by the City is completely false. Any informed reading of the check register shows the donations were not made with public funds but rather with the business’ private funds. In addition, a legal expert in the area of political compliance practices has already spoken to the legality of the Design Studio’s contributions.
- Cost Estimates: The claim that the estimated cost to build the park made by the City’s consultants was well beyond the original estimates or the City’s financial means ignores the City‘s official analysis about its budget for funding the park and the context with which the $3-4 billion estimate was made. In two different depositions, it was explained that the larger figure included construction of buildings and other park features that would be built with private funds over several decades and phases.
Given the numerous harmful errors contained in the Status Update, Gafcon has requested an immediate public correction to the Update’s statements and asked that future reports and updates be thoroughly vetted and reviewed and provide credible evidence to back up any allegations.