L.A. Community College District Hit With Whistleblower Complaint Over Construction Bond Program

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The Media Arts Building, left, shown under construction in 2012, alongside the completed Culinary Arts Institute, right, on the campus of Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar. The campus is part of the Los Angeles Community College District. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

The Media Arts Building, left, shown under construction in 2012, alongside the completed Culinary Arts Institute, right, on the campus of Los Angeles Mission College in Sylmar. The campus is part of the Los Angeles Community College District. (Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

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Nearly two years ago, David Salazar arrived at the Los Angeles Community College District, ready to oversee a massive $3.3-billion construction bond program that voters had approved for the largest two-year college system in the nation.

The new chief facilities executive was equipped with two master’s degrees and three decades of experience managing building projects for the California State University, Claremont Graduate University and the San Bernardino Community College District. But nothing prepared him for what he said he found in the L.A. college district — sloppy management, fierce backroom politics and entrenched relationships between board trustees and construction interests.

After Salazar raised red flags about cost overruns earlier this year, drawing sharp criticism from some trustees, the L.A. district’s chancellor, Francisco Rodriguez, gave him a notice of termination in March.

Now Salazar has filed a whistleblower complaint with the district, alleging Rodriguez fired him in retaliation for publicly outing problems in the construction program, The Times has learned.

Read the full story on LATimes.com

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