In Search of Truth, Accountability and Integrity Since 1992

Belmont: World’s Most Notorious High School

Incompetence, fraud, corruption: all factors in the extraordinary cost of building a single high school in Los Angeles. Learn from their mistakes to avoid a similar catastrophe in your school districts.

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Introduction

Why Would a School District Spend a Billion Dollars to Build One High School?

Duration: 5:14

Former LAUSD Inspector General Don Mullinax explains how he first got involved in discovering what became the biggest high school construction scandal in the nation.

Part I: Toxic High School

Welcome to Toxic High–Part 1 Trailer

Duration: 3:13

This series of interviews identify who was responsible for the massive financial disaster that was initially called the Belmont Learning Center.

Who is Responsible for Belmont Disaster? Pt 1 #395

Duration: 25:29

David Cartwright, Senior Partner in the Law Firm of O’Melveny & Myers was directly involved in selecting and purchasing the Belmont site for LAUSD. He claims everyone in charge knew about the environmental factors and insists these concerns were not serious issues. He insists they could have been easily remediated but were blown out of proportion by media-inspired hysteria.

Who is Responsible for Belmont Disaster? Pt 2 #396

Duration: 25:49

Attorney David Cartwright claims that the lawsuits that followed the Belmont debacle were groundless. He claims that the report by DA Cooley exonerated everyone who had been suggested as culpable in what was called monumental "waste, fraud, and abuse."

State Watchdog Fronts Toxic Site PR Campaign Pt 1 #405

Duration: 16:53

Petroleum expert Ed Scott refutes the safety claims of the California Department of Toxic Substance Control. The DTSC has quietly begun a public relations campaign on behalf and in conjunction with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in order to win public support for completing the controversial $1/2 billion dollar Belmont Learning Complex.

State Watchdog Fronts Toxic Site PR Campaign Pt 2 #406

Duration: 25:15

Petroleum expert Ed Scott explains the dangers of hydrogen sulfide and the disturbing amount that he discovered was present on a Belmont site survey.

Will Belmont Ever Be Safe? Pt 1 #416

Duration: 25:04

Dr. Kaye Kilburn of the USC Keck School of Medicine explains how continued exposure to small amounts of hydrogen sulfide causes irreparable brain damage. He shares the fact that you can smell it on the Belmont site means the danger is continuously there.

Will Belmont Ever Be Safe? Part 2 #417

Duration: 25:04

Ddr. Kilburn cites from his book entitled Chemical Brain Damage how an entire community in Lovington New Mexico has been poisoned by hydrogen sulfide. Referring to the Belmont site, he suggests "the experiment was conclusive. There is no need to do it again."

Part II: School Finance Fraud

School Finance Fraud–Part 2 Trailer

Duration: 4:02

"Joint use," "design-build" all complex financial arrangements used to obfuscate the rip off of precious school funds by greedy developers. This series of interviews reveals the dark corruption that cost LAUSD almost a billion dollars to build one high school.

Who Is Watching Taxpayers’ Funds? #389

Duration: 25:31

Former California State Controller Kathleen Connell explains how school districts could skirt the legal requirement to get voter approval of school bonds by issuing "Certificates of Participation" or COP's.

State Legislative Audit Committee Pt 1 #397

Duration: 25:26

Scott Wildman served as Chairman of the State Legislative Audit Committee, which investigated the Belmont Learning Center disaster. His report "identified literally tens of millions of dollars in waste," He explains that LAUSD management was not prepared to deal with unscrupulous developers.

State Legislative Audit Committee Pt 2 #398

Duration: 25:48

Scott Wildman points out that LAUSD management was seduced by developers who promised the District could make money in a joint-use venture. The developers were not interested in building a school but rather enriching themselves with the District funds.

Who Planned Belmont? Pt 1 #401

Duration: 25:56

Dominic Shambra was directly responsible for managing the Belmont Learning Center project for LAUSD. He had little experience in the complex field of joint-use ventures, and design-build contracts with developers and so he headed up a team of experts to help him create the development.

Who Planned Belmont? Pt 2 #402

Duration: 25:15

Dominic Shambra claims the Belmont project was sabotaged by "union politics, environmental politics, and electoral politics." All of these factors combined to stop what he claimed would have been a top-rated learning academy.

Part III: Dirty School Cover-up

Dirty School Cover-Up–Part 3 Trailer

Duration: 3:29

Two LA DA's both failed to file criminal charges against the developers, contractors, and the law firms that represented them for the apparent and obvious fraud that resulted in almost a billion dollars of precious school funding being wasted on one school construction project.

LAUSD Audits and Investigations #382

Duration: 24:37

Inspector General of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Don Mullinax produced volumes of reports and audits of the LAUSD and made a number of referrals to District Attorney for prosecution on the waste, fraud, and abuse found on the Belmont project.

Non-Voter Approved Public Indebtedness Pt 1 #385

Duration: 25:29

According to Anthony Pachett who served as LAUSD Belmont Task Force, non-voter approved public indebtedness known as Certificates of Participation were used to finance the Belmont Learning Center.

Non-Voter Approved Public Indebtedness Pt 2 #386

Duration: 25:23

Special Assistant DA Anthony Patchett claims that investors were not advised of the environmental problems or costs of remediation.

Millions More For Belmont; Political Cover-Up? Pt 1 #393

Duration: 24:59

Roger Carrick was a member of the District Attorney’s Ad Hoc Task Force on the Belmont corruption investigation. He responds to video clips of D. A. Steve Cooley where he denies that investigators presented a “draft indictment” or named names or presented any evidence of a crime. Carrick accuses Cooley of making false statements

Millions More For Belmont; Political Cover-Up? Pt 2 #394

Duration: 25:02

Roger Carrick claims that pressure from powerful interests and a “lack of courage” on the part of the top managers in the L. A. County District Attorney’s office are blamed for preventing prosecutions in the Belmont High School corruption investigation.

No Bidding on Belmont Contract? #401

Duration: 25:56

According to Dominic Shambra, former Director of Planning and Development for the Los Angeles Unified School District, there was no competitive bidding for the Belmont Learning Center contract. “It was a request for proposal and it wasn’t one that asked for a bid.”

IRS Propaganda on Belmont? #402

Duration: 25:15

Dominic Shambra identified the Internal Revenue Service” taxability letter” as being the same smear promoted by David Koff of the Hotel & Restaurant workers union and Scott Wildman, Chair of the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee as having used “the same type of propaganda.”

Part IV: Bonus Footage

Secret School Bonds Create Billions of Dollars of Debt #VB4

Duration: 7:32

While investigating the LAUSD Belmont Learning Center fiasco, FDN discovered a secret public financing operation whereby the District quietly issue non-voter approved, tax-exempt bonds, mounting billions in public debt, and which is passed on to unsuspecting taxpayers for undefined projects.

IRS Relents to School District Clout #VB5

Duration: 9:32

This video blog reveals how, big law firms, political connections and $Billions in state and local bond funds persuaded the IRS to back down from their scathing indictment of the LAUSD for illegal use of non-voter approved, tax-exempt bonds call Certificates of Participation (COPs).

Prosecutor Attacks FDN VB #VB6

Duration: 8:23

Former Special Assistant L. A. County D. A. Anthony Patchett headed the Belmont Learning Center investigation, He has attacked the FDN video blog citing certain statements which he says indicate there was an “intent” by the LAUSD to violate federal and/or state laws governing the finance and construction of public schools.

LAUSD Inspector General Leaves in Frustration #VB7

Duration: 8:51

LAUSD Inspector General Don Mullinax appears in this short video covering his going away party when he retired from LAUSD.

Mysterious School Financing Disclosed #VB8

Duration: 10:46

LAUSD Board member David Tokofsky disclosed the existence of an unknown school financing operation that has been concealed from the public eye apparently to avoid scrutiny.

Battle For $Billions–Take Over Or Break Up LAUSD #VB18

Duration: 6:37

Major players in LA are supporting the break-up of the School District and are calling for an outside independent audit by L. A. City Controller Laura Chick. This video shows the battle brewing between Mayor Antonio Villargiarosa and LAUSD Superintendent Roy Romer.

LA Mayor Brawls for Control of School District #VB35

Duration: 13:34

The multi-billion-dollar budget of LAUSD attracts power-hungry politicians on this FDN special Video News Blog

School Bonds Feed the Beast #VB59

Duration: 10:44

An exclusive video report on how California Taxpayers pay matching funds every time voters in Los Angeles approve billions in school bonds for what is described as “the Beast”.

Conclusion

What Happened and Who Did It?

Duration: 24:13

Don Mullinax explains the existence of a draft indictment that was suppressed by DA Cooley. This document names specific people and specific charges that could have been brought against those individuals who perpetrated the fraud that was the Belmont Learning Center scandal.

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