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Leaders of high-speed rail authority also were paid advisers to firms with something to gain from project


Two prominent California High-Speed Rail Authority leaders who are already under scrutiny for holding potentially "incompatible" public offices have received tens of thousands of dollars in consulting fees from firms with financial interests in the $43-billion project.

Rail board Chairman and Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, a public affairs consultant, has been an advisor to a major construction supplier that owns property along proposed bullet train routes, records and interviews show.

Other Pringle clients include a large corporate donor to the 2008 ballot campaign that secured high-speed rail funding and now hopes to win construction contracts. Pringle also represents the City of Industry, which has objected to a possible route through its freight train corridor.

Fellow board member Richard Katz sits on the Metrolink and Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority boards. He too works as a public affairs consultant and for several years has advised Walt Disney Co.

The Disneyland Resort is an enthusiastic backer of the San Francisco-to-Anaheim bullet train project, which could serve millions of passengers at a proposed rail station just a short hop from the theme park. Disney also has interests in land along the rail right-of-way, specifically a ranch-style studio property close to the spot where the train would turn toward Palmdale as it exits the San Fernando Valley.

Pringle and Katz, both influential former state lawmakers, say they have not mixed their private business interests with their high-speed rail duties.

Pringle and his clients said they had not discussed the rail project and that any work performed by Curt Pringle & Associates was unrelated to his role with the authority.

Read more: "High-speed rail leaders receive consulting fees from firms with financial interests in project."

-- Rich Connell

Photo: Disneyland in Anaheim. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (10)

Why do you think small time politicians take these nothing political jobs? Not for the job, for the graft that comes to them from these type of activities. This is the tip of the iceberg, use your clout and investigative reporters, if you have any, to shine the light on other such activites. For example the "advisors" to state pension funds that were previously members of the house and senate as well as advisors to the pension boards, except now they rake in millions for "advice"

Katz is in the thick of all of this and don't think that he does not have the financial interests of his clients (and himself in representing them) when he makes decisions in his "official" capacity. And Pringle? Ha. The self-interested hog is at the trough slopping away at taking the taxpayers for a ride.

I can understand the idea of this article. But something like an LA-Anaheim branch makes sense regardless of who is on the board. In fact the idea is probably older than this person's services to the board.

Construction contracts haven't been awarded yet for the rail, so there is no evidence of wrong doing. Even so, what if all the most qualified companies donated to the board, must they reject all of them?

A LOT of cities and businesses will benefit from this project. That is all there is to it.

Where has the Times been on this problem? We were complaining for years about the graft associated with the MTA and it fell on deaf ears. Even the routes impacted the poorest neighborhoods over the wealthier ones and the poor engineeering and construction was even rewarded with renewal of contracts. Nothing will change though ...

Why is anyone surprised at this? Public comment on huge projects are similar to want ads for management positions -- they're a cover for decisions already made.

Sounds like Republicans saying "Trust me."

Only the tip of the iceberg of corruption at mta it also permeates los angeles city hall!!

a little jailtime for both corrupt m.......

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