“Good afternoon. Thank you for coming today. My name is Mark Rocha, Superintendent-President of the Pasadena Area Community College District and Pasadena City College. I am accompanied today by our Board of Trustees, Mr. Geoff Baum, President of the Board of Trustees, and Dr. Jeanette Mann, Trustee from Area 2; by the college’s General Counsel, Gail Cooper; by external counsel, Mary Dowell, of Liebert, Cassidy, Whitmore; by Juan Gutierrez, the college’s Director of Public Relations and the college’s representative to the media for this matter.
We come today to announce news that has angered and saddened all of us, as I know it will for all of you who care about Pasadena City College.
The day before yesterday, June 5, 2012, the college was formally notified by the Los Angeles County District Attorney that it intended to serve search warrants at the homes of two employees, Richard van Pelt, Vice President of Administrative Services, and Alfred Hutchings, Facilities Supervisor. These search warrants were served early this morning in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation into allegations against these two individuals related to violations of conflict of interest and similar laws. Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation and because these individuals have rights of due process, we are unable to comment further on this investigation. Further information about this investigation will come only from the District Attorney’s office.
Here I want to thank the Los Angeles County District Attorney for bringing this matter to our attention. From the moment the District Attorney contacted us we have cooperated fully in their investigation. The record will show that the District Attorney’s office first contacted us with regard to its investigation on May 7, 2012. Since that time we have worked openly and fully with their investigator. We will continue to do so until this case is concluded.
We are able to say that Mr. van Pelt and Mr. Hutchings were the only two employees identified by the DA’s office as targets of the investigation.
Suffice it to say, that the potential charges against these two individuals are very serious and require vigorous and immediate action by the District.
Therefore, both Mr. van Pelt and Mr. Hutchings, were placed on administrative leave this morning. If our own investigation reveals improper conduct or violations of District policy, then I will recommend to our Board of Trustees the termination of these two employees.
We will also use this as an opportunity to review all of our operations and learn how we can improve oversight and insure full compliance. A preliminary internal review of our books indicates that all funds are intact and properly accounted for. The District is financially strong and stable. But we cannot let the matter rest there.
We have therefore engaged an independent accounting firm, Vicenti, Lloyd, Stutzman, to perform an internal forensic audit of all business and fiscal operations, and to act as interim finance staff. They will conduct an independent audit and will serve as supervisors pro tem for fiscal and accounting operations. The auditors will be given full and free access and a report of their work, when completed, will be shared with the public.
The college is moving forward and continuing all normal business and academic activities.
Thank you for your time and support. “
Dr. Mark W. Rocha
Pasadena City College
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