For those who don't know, I am an architect who caught onto one of the most pervasive and long-term scams of the School and Public Works Dollars.
For all I knew, it was just my bosses in the 800-person Facilities Department at the University of California, San Francisco, who were involved.
But no.....it turned out to be a targeted scam all over the US and other countries, from three roofing "manufacturers" in Cleveland, Ohio.
And it all originated with one of them: Tremco. The same "manufacturer" I caught on to at UCSF.
I tracked it back to the 1930's - in documents from the American Psychologists' Association Magazine, in a study by an Industrial Psychologist describing the "darker side of sales" at Tremco impacting their ability to retain salesmen.
So what is the scam?
It's a way of siphoning off funds in a sales con game of "We do it all for you."
The reality is that they DO it all TO you.
They target "decision makers" who have no license to be or knowledge of what they are dealing with - School Board Members, Business Officers, Facilities Managers.
But not the licensed architects or engineers who should know better - or Registered Roof Consultants, who have a strict Code of Ethics to abide by.
Using private labeled products from one of the four major US Manufacturers or a local, boutique manufacturer, they mark up the products from $25 to $55 a roll (100 square feet or 1 "square" of roofing) to $300 or more a roll.
Then they force their round-robin of "certified" roofing contractors to buy way more of the product than is necessary, with product the sales rep "guesses" would be needed. And they don't take back the overage.
If the roofing contractor balks, he's out of work. The scam is now so pervasive that these con men control the markets - schools are deeply involved.
And at a time when no one can afford to be, with teachers being laid off, remaining teachers paying for school supplies, and education suffering.
There are two methods being used to "lock-spec" all the work:
1. Bidding Documents illegally sole-sourced, filled with fraudulent and restrictive proprietary performance spec requirements.,
To quote the California Supreme Court Justice standing up at the beginning of my Oral Hearings in December, 2004, yelling and wagging his arm and finger at the University of California attorney, "These are CRIMINAL ACTS! These are CRIMINAL Acts!" He was referring to the bid specifications I had turned into the FBI. The FBI had "strongly recommended prosecutions" of my bosses over those specs.
2. Purchasing Order Scheme
Both Tremco and Garland have employed Purchasing Agencies to implement their scheme with broken-up construction contracts - and often the contractor is their own subsidiary.
The latter is what happened in Bakersfield, from 2002 to date. With Garland Roofing.
Garland uses US Communities out of Walnut Creek, California (San Francisco Bay Area) as their front for the purchasing agency side of the scam. The bid that is used as the standard for US Communities using Garland as their choice for supplying roofing products was a "bid" held by the Cobb County Commissioners in Northwest Atlanta.
To anyone who is a licensed architect and engineer and knows what they are doing re: roofing and waterproofing (sadly lacking in California), you would know the purchasing agency side of the scam is absurd.
For one, every condition is different. One system might work better than another, so the use of one product for all conditions is literally crazy. And frankly, it could be downright dangerous to use the same product across the board, where in one condition it might be appropriate and in another, not at all.
You could use a purchasing agency for supplies, but roofing is not just a "supply". It is a fire-rated material that must be appropriate for the conditions as determined by licensed personnel without any sort of monetary conflict of interest.
So what happened?
A group of men moved into positions above all of the men that had been doing bidding correctly in construction contracts - and turned it all upside down.
The Kern High School District I have been told has over 38,000 students and 18 high schools, with other facilities involved. It is the largest in the state. And it is remote.
Clearly, the Kern High School District was targeted by a group of men that knew each other from certain organizations, to bring their practices with them where they thought they would go undetected.
The remuneration for doing so - kickbacks - is great.
One "deep throat" in the area that knew the Garland Rep involved and had himself participated in the kickbacks scheme told me that it would be nothing for that rep to hand over $30,000 to $40,000 in cash at one of the many private parties this group of men was seen to be involved in.
He wasn't the first to give me such numbers...or tell me who got what.
The worst part is what happened to the good men who did it right - and everyone around them.
And that not one person listened and followed up - until it was too late.
Great damage was done as a result - far and wide.