Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rick Van Pelt: Lawsuit Claims $250,000 Bribe and Trip to India Solicited

The Los Angeles Times Pasadena Sun is reporting that Rick Van Pelt, Pasadena City College Vice President and Al Hutchings, Facilities Chief,  sought a $250,000 bribe from a Los Angeles based lighting company and a trip to India in exchange for a lighting contract for the College.

Van Pelt and Hutchings have countersued claiming while they do go to India, they never solicited a bribe from the company.

Van Pelt was the former Facilities Administrator for Ambassador College and a Worldwide Church of God member.

The Pasadena Sun reports:

Lawsuit: Former Pasadena City College officials sought $250,000 bribe

Lighting company alleges executives facing criminal probe sought kickback. Van Pelt, Hutchings deny claim.

Two former Pasadena City College administrators facing a criminal bribery probe offered a lucrative campus contract to a lighting company in exchange for a lavish visit to India and $250,000 in payoffs, a lawsuit claims.

A countersuit filed Tuesday by former PCC Vice President Richard van Pelt and then-campus facilities chief Al Hutchings acknowledges the pair traveled to India, but denies they sought a bribe.

Los Angeles-based LED Global LLC, a manufacturer of energy-efficient light bulbs, alleges in a suit filed July 26 in Los Angeles Superior Court that van Pelt and Hutchings solicited kickbacks in 2011 after promising the firm a $5-million contract to upgrade campus lighting.

The company refused to make the illegal payments, was denied the contract and contacted law enforcement authorities, according to a related claim LED Global filed July 30 against PCC with the city of Pasadena.

On July 7, investigators with the L.A. County district attorney's office seized computers and documents from the homes and campus offices of van Pelt and Hutchings. The men have not been charged, and the investigation remains open, according to Deputy Dist. Atty. David Demerjian, who heads the office's public integrity section.

PCC fired van Pelt after the raid and removed Hutchings from his job pending an administrative hearing.

LED Global's lawsuit claims that the company's owners met with van Pelt and Hutchings in January 2011 to discuss a contract, and that in February 2011 the firm examined the college's lighting needs.

The suit claims that the company received a $5-million purchase order for LED lighting from van Pelt and Hutchings on March 17, 2011, after agreeing to pay for the men to travel to Mumbai, India, from May 1 to May 6 for a factory tour.

During that trip, van Pelt and Hutchings twice asked for a 5% kickback on the proposed PCC contract and on future contracts they would broker for LED Global at other community colleges, according to the suit.

The lawsuit also claims van Pelt and Hutchings made “unusual and expensive” requests during the trip, asking for company-paid stays at luxury hotels in Mumbai and New Delhi, an excursion to the Taj Mahal, access to prostitutes, limousine rides, lavish meals and $2,000 worth of Cuban cigars.

LED Global owners Robert Das and Salia Smith claim the company paid for most of those demands but refused to hire prostitutes for the men. They allege that Hutchings — a former Los Angeles Police Department officer — made veiled threats after they refused to make the payoffs.

Van Pelt and Hutchings did not inform the college about the trip to India, said PCC spokesman Juan Gutierrez.

The rest of the article is here.


Byker Bob said...

Over the past twelve years since I've been on some of these "dissident" or "recovery" sites, I've been absolutely amazed by the disproportionate number of twisted people that are or once were associated with Armstrongism.

It's a powerful modifier, and all of us have been warped to some degree or other. It's good that many of us are on the road to recovery, and are in varying stages, but terrible that this recovery has been made necessary for us.

The ones for whom I feel the most sorry are the ones who don't yet recognize that there even was a problem.


Douglas Becker said...

While I agree with Byker Bob, I think I will wait until the case is switched to court to cast some light on the allegations.

Nevertheless, it is amazing how warped and twisted the Armstrongists, particularly former Ambassador College students, seem to be and completely in the dark about it.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the legacy of Armstrong has many examples of those who learned the practice of "getting theirs". And it doesn't matter if it's by hook or crook.

Assistant Deacon said...

A major flaw in COGdom was the promotion of astonishingly unqualified people to management positions, particularly in Pasadena, almost entirely on the basis of some bizarre notion of loyalty.

Suck up to the right people at the right time, and you were in like Flynn.

When a custodian, who happened to be one of the most sleep-inducing speakers in history, is ordained as a high-ranking minister because of some perceived act(s) of "loyalty," all bets are off. But that kind of thing happened all the time.

Too many self-important yahoos climbed the ladder -- often way before their time -- because they curried favor, or, even worse, because they simply lucked into it in spite of themselves.

Anonymous said...

Within the COGdom, there were many bribes of much more than 250k (which included trips to Petra), solicited.


Michael D. Maynard said...

Lessons learned from Herbert. Insanity plea might work.