An investigation into two fired school officials who are accused of soliciting bribes is ongoing, according to officials in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.
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An investigation into two fired school officials who are accused of soliciting bribes is ongoing, according to officials in the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

Former Vice President of Administrative Services Richard van Pelt and former Facilities Supervisor Alfred Hutchings were fired in June after the school found out that the two men’s homes and offices were searched by investigators from the DAs office on suspicion of  ‘conflicts of interest.’

“[The case] is still open,” said Dave Demerjian, the head of the DAs public integrity division, in a telephone interview on Monday. “Because it’s an ongoing case, I can’t share much more than that.”

Michelle Gilmer, the attorney assigned to the case, stated that they are currently investigating and compiling evidence for the case. “I will construct a case when the investigator determines whether there is enough to make a charge,” she said.

While details of the investigation, as well as a timetable for its completion have not been disclosed, details of the bribery scandal itself were made known in lawsuits filed against the two men and the college by the company that was allegedly solicited for bribes.

The initial lawsuit filed by Robert Das and Saila Smith claim that their company, LED Global, would be awarded a contract for lighting on campus worth over $5 million if they agreed to numerous requests.

In the lawsuit, van Pelt and Hutching allegedly requested an expensive trip to Mumbai for a factory site visit.

“During the course of making arrangements for the factory site visit to Mumbai, Hutchings and van Pelt began to make unusual and expensive requests,” the court document says.

The alleged requests included an excursion to the Taj Mahal, business class travel, accommodation at the Four Seasons, limousines, cigars, and the request of prostitutes, which LED Global denies providing.

On top of the hedonistic requests, van Pelt and Hutchings allegedly sought $250,000 in commission for the contract made with PCC and, after introducing LED Global to other community colleges, “to be personally paid by [LED Global] a 5 percent commission on the value of any contract entered into between LED Global and any other college in the State of California,” the cross-complaint says.

Van Pelt and Hutchings then filed a cross-complaint against LED Global for slander in which they claim “[LED Global] conspired and agreed among themselves that if they did not receive the substantial lighting contract with Pasadena City College, they would instead accuse [van Pelt and Hutchings] of alleged wrongdoing and would seek substantial damages against [van Pelt and Hutchings] to compensation for the lost contract money.”

More, recently LED Global has now sued the PCC school district, the Board of Trustees and other defendants for negligence and breach of contract.

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