Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley has opened a preliminary inquiry into allegations of irregularities in the Los Angeles Community College District's choice of a watchdog for its troubled $5.7-billion construction program.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Max Huntsman said Monday that his office's public integrity division is examining why the college district hired a newly formed company, Policy Masters Inc., as inspector general over higher-ranked candidates. The company's founder, Christine E. Marez, had no background in independent audits and investigations.
State Controller John Chiang, in an August audit, said the district broke its own bidding rules in hiring Marez last year and called for an independent investigation into possible malfeasance. The district's board of trustees rejected a criminal investigation and instead brought in City Controller Wendy Greuel to review the hiring.
The district attorney's office decided to conduct its own inquiry in response to a request from a citizen group, the Van de Kamps Coalition.