|Yielding to outside pressure, the Los Angeles Community College District has asked City Controller Wendy Greuel to investigate allegations that its selection of a watchdog to police its troubled campus construction program was rigged.
In a recent audit of the $5.7-billion program, state Controller John Chiang's office cited "possible malfeasance" in the district's hiring of Christine E. Marez as inspector general and urged an independent investigation.
Marez's newly formed company, Policy Masters Inc., was chosen last year over higher-rated applicants, even though she had no experience as an independent auditor or investigator.
From 1998 to 2003, Marez worked for a construction management firm owned by Art Gastelum, a leading campaign donor and fundraiser for the district's elected board members and a major contractor on the construction program.
Chancellor Daniel LaVista, who had recommended Marez's hiring to the board, initially rejected Chiang's call for an outside investigation. But board President Miguel Santiago announced Wednesday that Greuel would conduct an independent review.