California’s Top Bullet Train Consultant Suspended Amid State Ethics Probe

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Construction workers at a viaduct being built to extend over State Route 99 and North and Cedar Avenues in Fresno County in this undated photo. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

Construction workers at a viaduct being built to extend over State Route 99 and North and Cedar Avenues in Fresno County in this undated photo. (Credit: Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

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The top consultant on the California bullet train has been put on suspension after a state watchdog agency began reviewing his approval of a multimillion-dollar contract for a company in which he had heavily invested, The Times has learned.

Roy Hill, deputy chief operating officer for the California High-Speed Rail Authority and a senior executive at the lead consulting firm WSP, signed a $51-million change order for the construction team led by the Spanish firm Dragados. It happened in the same year he may have owned more than $100,000 of stock in Jacobs Engineering, which is part of the Dragados team, records show.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), a longtime critic of the rail project, requested the state Fair Political Practices Commission last week to launch an investigation into Hill’s actions and holdings. On Monday afternoon, WSP suspended Hill at the direction of the rail authority, pending the outcome of the FPPC review , according to WSP and rail authority officials. The rail authority also sent an internal email about the suspension to the agency’s staff.

On Tuesday, the rail authority began an internal assessment of Hill’s actions as well. The FPPC has up to 28 days to decide whether to launch a formal investigation.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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