Letter To Congresswoman Torres’ Spokesman Justin Krakoff

Mr. Krakoff…
       This is Mark Gutglueck with the San Bernardino County Sentinel.

       I am writing to you with regard to the clean energy grant that Congresswoman Torres was instrumental in obtaining for the City of Fontana.

      Elements within Fontana City Hall have informed the Sentinel that in the past, Mayor Acquanetta Warren and her ruling coalition on the council have steered previous energy efficiency project contracts to Alliance Building Solutions, using a loophole in California law that suspends the requirement that public agencies and governmental entities use an open bidding process on contracts for capital projects if the project pertains either to increasing energy efficiency or can be demonstrated to have saved the agency/governmental entity on energy costs. According to those within Fontana’s governmental structure, Mayor Warren and her allies on the council expressly used this loophole so that Alliance Building Solutions could be awarded the contracts in question despite the consideration that there were other companies offering the same energy efficiency upgrades at a lower cost than Alliance Building Solutions. This bypassing of the open bidding requirement was orchestrated, the Sentinel was told, by former San Bernardino County Supervisor Bill Postmus, who has reinvented himself as a lobbyist and political fixer and is acting as what was variously described as a “cut-out” or go-between to convey money from Alliance Building Solutions principal Brad Chapman to Mayor Warren and the other decision-makers on the Fontana City Council, money intended to “grease” the mayor and council and thus facilitate the provision of the no-bid contract to Alliance Building Solutions. In essence, the Sentinel is told, the monetary installments originating with Mr. Chapman being delivered to the mayor and council members through the laundering process involving Mr. Postmus are quid pro quos, bribes paid in return for the approval of the energy efficientization projects.

      It would not seem that that Congresswoman Torres would have been knowingly or actively involved in this questionable routing of federal money to Alliance Building Solutions through the municipal government in Fontana for multiple reasons. First, I have long observed Congresswoman Torres in her public comportment, and this is not something she would go for. Second, try as I might, I cannot see how there is anything in this for her. Third, generally, the graft-encrusted arrangements such as this that Bill Postmus has masterminded in the past, including those benefiting Alliance Building Solutions, have involved Republican officeholders. I was told by someone in a position to know about these things that Congressman Torres had been “hoodwinked” into getting the Department of Energy’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant for Fontana.

      I am writing to you, Mr. Krakoff, to see if you would 1) put in some form of words a disavowal that Congresswoman Torres had any foreknowledge about the way in which she was being importuned or manipulated in the effort to get Fontana this grant, particularly that it was intended to go, exclusively to Alliance Building Solutions; 2) say whether there was any requirement put into the grant award that the contracts to paid for by the grant must be ones that use an open-bid process; 3) state, if there was no requirement put into the grant award that the contracts to paid for by the grant must be ones that use an open-bid process, that upon scrutiny of the situation, the Congresswoman is now intent to add a condition to the award by which any contracts to paid for by the grant must be ones that use an open-bid process.

        I am fighting an unforgiving deadline in pursuing this story. If you could get back to me at once, I would like to use your input, and the Congresswoman’s, in the final setting of pen to paper on this. As I stated, I have someone who will say the Congresswoman was hoodwinked when she went to the mat to get this grant for the people of Fontana and she was simply duped by some politically savvy manipulators into entrusting the federal grant money to the Fontana City Council. There may be a more artful way of explaining to the Sentinel’s readership how hard-earned taxpayer money and federal dollars are about to be used to enrich a business enterprise which captures its governmental contracts by kicking back to the elected officials who award public contracts to that enterprise.

       Thank you, Mr. Krakoff, for your rapid response.

                                      …Mark Gutglueck    (951) 567 1936

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