Las Vegas Sun

August 19, 2018

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Contracts show conflict of interest

When Community College of Southern Nevada construction chief Bob Gilbert was questioned by the Sun in late February about the appropriateness of hiring college contractors to help build his home, he said there was no conflict of interest because he had no influence over the awarding or execution of their contracts at the college.

The contracts tell a different story.

Finally responding to three-month-old public information requests by the Sun, college officials have released copies of contracts that show two of the contractors doing work at Gilbert's home were recommended by Gilbert to do hourly work for the campus. The contracts were awarded, and are managed by Gilbert.

Contracts previously released by the college showed that Gilbert had signed college purchasing requests to authorize work done by Swisher and Hall Architecture, which also did work for Gilbert.

The Sun reported on March 26 allegations by employees in Gilbert's department that he was personally benefiting from contractors who do work at CCSN, and that he had improperly used college materials, equipment and employees to help build his 4-acre ranch-style estate off Kyle Canyon Road.

Gilbert denied the allegations in a Feb. 26 interview with the Sun, but neither he nor his attorney has responded to further requests for comment, including for this story. College President Richard Carpenter told the Sun in March he was looking into the allegations, but would not elaborate.

According to contracts dating to Aug. 1, 2004, electrical contractor Inline Inc. and Universal Paving bid on yearly CCSN contracts to do campus work as needed, and to be paid by the hour.

Contracts for both companies over the past three years are for unidentified projects that individually would cost less than $100,000. Inline's most recent contract is for projects that individually cost less than $25,000.

Cumulative payments are not to exceed $400,000 over a 13-month period, although Gilbert was able to seek contract extensions from his supervisors on at least three occasions. One contract limit for Inline was extended to $575,000 in September .

George Milton Green and Tom Ryan Green, who own Universal Paving, also won a contract for another company they own, Southern Nevada Construction. That contract authorized up to $400,000 in work on campus for 13 months ending Aug. 31, 2005.

The packet released by college officials did not include a current contract, but the company was seen repairing a water main on the Henderson campus in February.

The nearly identical bid documents and contracts for all three companies give Gilbert "sole discretion" to make partial payments to those companies, require him to review and approve all time sheets for payment, and allow him to schedule all the work , including overtime pay for shift and weekend work to meet time commitments.

Contractors are told in the bid requests to direct questions about the project or craft skills necessary to Gilbert, and Gilbert appears as the recommending authority on almost all the contracts.

Each bid request requires contractors to certify that they have had no contact with an employee of the college that would give them an advantage over another company and that no college employee has received compensation from the company in any form or has any vested interest in the company.

The contracts did not note the work that the companies did at Gilbert's estate. It was unclear whether CCSN administrators knew about Gilbert's relationship with the companies .

Most of the contracts were approved by Vice President of Finance Patty Charlton, although the most recent Inline contract also has the signature of Vice President Jeffery Foshee.

Foshee, Carpenter and Chancellor Jim Rogers signed off on Inline's contract extension.

The contracts do not detail what work was to be done. Despite repeated requests by the Sun, college officials have not released that information, the total amount paid each year, what other companies bid for those contracts and whether other companies may have similar open-ended contracts with the college. Dates on the contracts show they were often rebid - and reawarded - long before the existing contract was to expire.

College officials also have not responded to written questions about the contracting process and have ignored or refused interview requests.

Open-ended contracts bid by hourly payments are regularly used at UNR and UNLV to cover smaller, short-term jobs , officials at both campuses said. The universities have several precertified contractors.

As long as jobs costing more than $25,000 are bid, there are no rules regarding whether they are bid by the job or by the hour, said Ray Moran, director of purchasing for UNR, Desert Research Institute and three of the state's four community colleges. Each institution can decide how best to handle its maintenance and small construction needs, he said.

Both universities require employees to disclose whether they may have a possible conflict of interest with a bidding company and require those employees to remove themselves from the contracting process.

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