A Superior Court judge has dismissed a bribery lawsuit filed against former Vice President of Administrative Services Richard van Pelt and former Facilities Services Supervisor Alfred Hutchings, according to Hutchings’ attorney Craig Renetzky.
The suit filed by LED Global Corp, LLC in July of last year was dismissed on Oct. 10 after LED principals Robert Das and Salia Smith failed to appear at two mandatory settlement conferences in August and September. Das and Salia were sanctioned $6,000 for their failure to appear.
On Sept. 18, Das and Smith’s attorneys from the Layfield Law Firm of El Segundo, requested that it be relieved of its responsibilities to represent LED Global, which Bruguera granted.
“The dismissal of the case was a long time coming, because Das and Smith did not have a single piece of evidence that could support their wild claims,” said John Schmocker, van Pelt and Hutchings’ attorney, in an email. “The harm caused to van Pelt and Hutchings can never be repaired, and a malicious prosecution lawsuit against Das and Smith is being prepared and will be filed if they return to California.”
According to General Counsel Gail Cooper, the LED Global case was dismissed by the Court for procedural reasons only. “It was not a decision on the merits of the case against Hutchings and van Pelt. We understand that the District Attorney’s Office is planning to file charges against them soon,” she said.
Hutchings and van Pelt were fired after the school found out that they were being investigated by the District Attorney’s office for “conflicts of interest.” According to Renetzky, the District Attorney relied on the allegations made by Das and Smith to begin an investigation.
Renetzky also said in a press release that PCC also relied primarily on the accusations made by Das and Smith to terminate the employment of van Pelt and Hutchings.
“This is not accurate,” Cooper said. “I cannot discuss the evidence that was relied upon to terminate them, but I can [say] that it was independent evidence that did not come from these two individuals.”
In the lawsuit filed on July 26, 2012, LED Global accused van Pelt and Hutchings of a host of illicit requests on top of a solicitation of bribes. According to the complaints in the lawsuit, van Pelt and Hutchings had offered LED Global a “purchase agreement” to the tune of $5 million for energy-efficient lighting after the company agreed to many requests, including high travel costs for van Pelt and Hutchings to go to Mumbai for a factory site visit.