Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Construction manager for LAUSD pleads guilty to conflict of interest

December 9, 2010 |  1:26 pm

A top construction manager pleaded guilty Thursday to using his authority with the Los Angeles Unified School District to hire people who worked for his private company.

Bassam Raslan, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of conflict of interest, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Judge Craig Veals sentenced Raslan to five years probation, ordered him to complete 200 hours of community service and directed him to pay $250,000 in restitution to the LAUSD. In exchange for his plea, prosecutors asked the judge to dismiss eight remaining conflict-of-interest charges.

Raslan’s conviction is the highest-profile affirmation to date of repeated allegations of impropriety by critics of the district's $27-billion school construction and modernization program. The effort, the nation’s largest, has won awards for quality and design but also has been dogged by allegations that consultants have engaged in inappropriate, self-enriching conduct.

A grand jury indictment, returned in March, alleged that Raslan co-founded TBI & Associates to profit from the hiring of construction managers. TBI was among a collection of firms that made small fortunes through their success in the massive construction program.


City audit of LAUSD focuses on systemic problems

LAUSD official pleads not guilty in conflict of interest case

City controller to audit LAUSD construction program

-- Howard Blume