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DeSaulnier seeks criminal probe of Caltrans

By Josh Richman
Tuesday, November 29th, 2011 at 5:06 pm in Attorney General, California State Senate, Kamala Harris, Mark DeSaulnier, Transportation.

An East Bay lawmaker asked Attorney General Kamala Harris today to open an criminal investigation into accusations of falsified inspections of the new span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge now under construction.

State Senate Transportation and Housing Committee Chairman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, wants Harris to probe Caltrans’ Foundation Inspection Branch, which was the targeted in a committee hearing he chaired last week following a Sacramento Bee investigation that raised the allegations.

“The committee believes that failure to conduct reliable inspection tests on the foundations of bridges, freeway ramps, retaining walls, and other structures may erode the public’s confidence in Caltrans’ management of the state highway and bridge program,” DeSaulnier wrote in his letter to Harris. “State government cannot be a safe haven for employees who shirk their public safety duties and who steal state property for private purposes. To this end, I am requesting that your office investigate the allegations of professional and managerial improprieties in the Foundation Inspection Branch of Caltrans for any criminality.”

Specifically, DeSaulnier wants Harris to look into Caltrans employees’ alleged theft of state materials and use of state equipment as well as the use of employees on state time to transport the materials to a construction site on private property; alleged falsification of inspection data; Caltrans managers’ failure to fire anyone for these alleged offenses; Caltrans’ workers possible intimidation of the Foundation Inspection Branch’s manager; and the possibility that allegedly bogus inspection data was meant to benefit one or more contractors.

UPDATE @ 5:41 P.M.: Spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill says Harris’ office has received DeSaulnier’s letter and is reviewing the request.

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  • Elwood

    Marky Mark has lost his mind. He should go back to the restaurant business.

    What was it he was investigating last week? Oh, I remember now. Whatever happened to the middle class?

    Next week: Who killed Cock Robin?

  • John W

    How about an investigation into the decision to let China do the steel fab work on the bridge?

  • Rick K.

    Watch Attorney General Harris sweep this one under the rug. She is more loyal to her public employee union bosses (namely the Building and Construction Trades unions) than to her sworn duty to enforce and uphold California law. Harris will find some excuse not to pursue this matter. She knows that her union boss overseers have longer memories than do the voters, who are too busy working and living their lives to monitor such matters. Besides, Harris is too much of a figurehead to deal with such nuts and bolts matters like good, honest government.