Biden’s pick for FAA chief entangled by sheriff’s probe of LA Metro contract

FILE - LA Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington speaks during a ground breaking on the SEED LA campus in South Los Angeles on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s investigation into alleged corruption, involving a lucrative contract awarded by the county’s transportation agency to an organization headed by a good friend of county Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, has reached the White House.

President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Federal Aviation Administration is former LA Metro CEO Phillip Washington, who played a pivotal role in awarding the contract before he moved on to become CEO of Denver International Airport. In light of the local investigation, at least one U.S. senator wants to ensure Washington is properly vetted before he is confirmed as FAA chief.

The sheriff’s investigation included search warrants issued simultaneously on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Metro headquarters in downtown L.A. and the homes of Kuehl and Civilian Oversight Commissioner Patti Giggans, who is CEO of the organization Peace Over Violence that received the contract from Metro.

According to the search warrant, the sheriff detectives sought the contract between Metro and POV related to operation of a sexual harassment hotline for the county transportation system. They also wanted call logs and internal evaluations or audits of the hotline and communications between the two entities, Giggans, Kuehl and others, including Washington, from 2014 to 2020.

The contract was approved by Washington without a vote of the board that Kuehl sits on, and it was not subject to competitive bidding, meaning Giggans’ group was the sole source sought by the agency. LA Metro paid out $890,000 from 2014 to 2020 to Giggans’ group, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

FILE – LA Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington speaks during a ground breaking on the SEED LA campus in South Los Angeles on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Photo by Axel Koester, Contributing Photographer)

The Sheriff’s Department alleges that others at LA Metro found nonprofit agencies willing to do the work for free. Also, …read more

Source:: Los Angeles Daily News

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