This story has been updated since it was first published.
A lawsuit involving two fired school officials reveals details into bribery allegations that may be the centerpiece of a District Attorneyâ€™s investigation of the two men.
The lawsuit targets ex-Vice President of Administrative Services Richard van Pelt and former Facilities supervisor Alfred Hutchings and was filed by LED Global, a firm that lost the bidding for new lighting on campus.
Philip Layfield, the attorney that represents LED Global, confirmed that the allegations made in the lawsuit are the same allegations that make up the DAs investigation. “That is correct,” Layfield said. “Our documentation is the same documentation that the DA is using.”
A counter suit was also filed by van Pelt and Hutchings which claims that LED Global conspired to commit fraud and slander them. They deny all the allegations.
Van Pelt and Hutchings were both fired when the school found out the DA was investigating them for â€œconflicts of interest.â€ The two men had founded a company together, Sustainagistics, which according to the California Secretary of State specialized in import logistics.
“My clients are outraged, its a total fabrication,” said John Schmocker who represents van Pelt and Hutchings. “The problem is [LED Global] are fraudsters and tricksters and they’re trying to manipulate the District Attorney.”
In the complaint filed July 26 in the Los Angeles Superior Court, LED Global LLC and its two principals Robert Das and Saila Smith accuse van Pelt and Hutchings of a host of hedonistic requests on top of a solicitation of bribes.
According to the complaints, van Pelt and Hutchings had offered LED Global a â€œpurchase agreementâ€ to the tune of $5 million after the company agreed to numerous requests, including expensive travel for van Pelt and Hutchings to Mumbai for a factory site visit.
â€œDuring the course of making arrangements for the factory site visit to Mumbai, Hutchings and van Pelt began to make unusual and expensive requests,â€ the court document says.
The requests included business class travel, accommodation at five star hotels (the Four Seasons in Mumbai), an excursion to the Taj Mahal, more than $2,000 worth of Cuban Cigars, and the demand for prostitutes, which, LED Global denies providing.
Van Pelt and Hutchings also requested they be paid $250,000 in commission for the contract they made with PCC and, after introducing LED Global to other community colleges, â€œto 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.â€
These commissions were to be paid to an off-shore bank account, according to the lawsuit.
Last week, Â van Pelt and Hutchings filed a cross-complaint in which they claim â€œ[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 Huthings] of alleged wrongdoing and would seek substantial damages against [van Pelt and Hutchings] to compensation for the lost contract money.â€
The court document then alleges LED Globalâ€™s acts were â€œdone knowingly,â€ with â€œmalicious intent,â€ and the â€œstatements and representations about [themselves] have caused each of them [van Pelt and Hutchings] to lose his respective job and income from Pasadena City College and my have far reaching consequences as far as future ability to obtain other employment.â€
In the initial complaint, representatives of LED Global claim they felt Hutchings was flexing his muscle as a former police officer with the LAPD. Hutchings allegedly bragged about beating and killing people as a means to â€œintimidate and implicity threaten [LED Global].â€
In the cross-complaint, van Pelt and Hutchings state they were also threatened with physical harm if they did not complete the contract.
The Courier is reporting this story and will add details as they become available.