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Monday, April 29, 2013

California Awards $ 1 Billion High Speed Rail Contract to Firm Partially Owned By Sen. Feinstein's Husband


"My household just loves high speed rail. Cha-ching!!"
A pure coincidence, I suppose.

Nope. No fraud or conflicts of interest here. Just move along.

From Crazifornia (h/t Doug Powers @ Michelle Malkin):

Out of the entire universe of those who could have won the first phase construction contract for California’s high speed rail boondoggle, who would stand out as the last person who would win it if there were no political patronage.

Put another way, who is the most likely person to win it if there is political patronage?Both questions have the same answer: Richard Blum, the husband of California senator Diane Feinstein.

So, who won the contract? Blum, of course, as the principle owner of Tutor Perini, the lead firm in the three-firm consortium selected by the California High Speed Rail Authority.

Yes, Diane, it really does look that bad to us little people.

A High Low Bid

The Perini-Zachary-Parsons bid was the lowest received from the five consortia participating in the bidding process, but “low” is a relative term. The firms bid $985,142,530 to build the wildly anticipated first section of high speed rail track that will tie the megopolis of Madera to the global finance center of Fresno. Do the division, and you find that the low bid came in at a mere $35 million per mile.

And that doesn’t include the cost of rolling stock (that’s engines and cars to the normal among us). Nor does it include the cost of electrifying the route. Does it at least include the cost of land acquisition? No, it does not.

As this fiasco progress, remember that this $35 million per mile represents the best California can do on the section of track the High on Crack Speed Rail Authority selected to go first because it will be the cheapest.
 
Oh, it gets better though. Perini has a reasonably long history of money laundering and conspiracy.

Just having Blum/Perini win the contract is corrupt enough. But it gets much more corrupt, says The National Black Chamber of Commerce:
According to the New York US Attorney’s office: “Following a four-week trial, a federal jury in Brooklyn yesterday (March 9, 2011) found Zohrab B. Marashlian, the former president of Perini Corp.’s Civil Division, an international construction services corporation, guilty of fraud and conspiracy to launder money. The charges arose out of Marashlian’s false representation to New York government agencies that Disadvantaged Business Entities (DBE’s) were performing work in connection with major public works contracts, when, in reality, Marashlian had non-disadvantaged businesses favored by Perini Corp. do the work.” Tutor Perini paid Marashlian $14 million in salary while all this was going on. Two days before Marashlian was to receive a multi-year prison sentence he committed suicide. A fellow employee is currently doing a long prison term for the same case.

Perini has been caught doing such things over and over again. They are absolutely ridiculous in California projects. … According to the Seattle News some of the Perini headlines read: “In February, Tutor-Saliba and Perini agreed to pay $19 million to settle racketeering and fraud allegations in a San Francisco airport project.”“The companies are embroiled in an 11 – year legal battle over $16 million in extra costs on a Los Angeles subway job.” (Emphasis added)
Eleven years for $16 million in extra costs for the L.A. subway? How long do you think the court cases involving cost overruns involving this boondoggle will be? I may not live to see an end in sight and I'm forty.

Well, just reason number 3978 for me fleeing California. But don't worry, we'll all be paying for it when California turns to the Feds for bailouts. That's coming soon.

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