Thursday, August 05, 2004

IRS Propaganda on Belmont Bonds?

Los Angeles, CA—Critical reports of the Belmont Learning Center were labeled as “Propaganda” by Dominic Shambra, former Director of Planning & Development for the LAUSD. On this Part 2 of the Emmy Award winning FULL DISCLOSURE cable TV program, Shambra singled out a letter from the Internal Revenue Service challenging the tax-exempt status of the Certificate of Participation bonds sold for Belmont. Shambra said that the IRS wrote “the same type of propaganda” that was used by David Koff of the Hotel & Restaurant Workers Union and Scott Wildman, Chair of the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

As for the allegations of conflict of interest by LAUSD outside legal counsel David Cartwright and his law firm, O’Melveny & Myers, Shambra said, “I trusted them completely. We were fully aware. In fact, I can actually say that Dave was probably the toughest of the negotiators on Kajima” (the developer and client of O’Melveny & Myers). With regard to the earthquake fault over which the Belmont school project was built, Shambra said, “We actually knew that there was an earthquake fault. The law says if it’s an active fault, recognized fault, you cannot build the building on top of that fault. That’s an inactive fault. So they don’t have to tear down those buildings.”

This second half of the Dominic Shambra interview is set to air worldwide on the Internet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week starting Thursday, August 5, 2004 on the PROGRAM page at For the first 30 days, the program will be provided to viewers FREE as a public service, and available thereafter online in the program catalog. The program will also be featured on 40 cable systems throughout California for the next six months.

Full Disclosure host Leslie Dutton has been conducting a series of interviews with local prosecutors, LAUSD legal counsel, and LAUSD administrators involved in the Belmont Learning Center investigations. The series is entitled “BELMONT: The World's Most Expensive High School". Costs to date for the development are $175 million, which was financed in 1997 with non-voter approved, tax-exempt bonds known as Certificates of Participation (COPs). The Los Angeles Unified School Board has already approved an additional $110 million for remediation of environmental hazards on the Belmont campus, which was built on top of 1,000 closed oil wells and is plagued with methane gas and hydrogen sulfide. On Tuesday, June 22, 2004, the LAUSD Board approved the project’s environmental impact report, paving the way for completion of the stymied project.

This program and other Belmont programs can be viewed at via video streaming on demand. A cable channel guide with airtimes is available on the website.

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