Las Vegas Sun

December 17, 2014

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CSN broke rule for firms linked to Gilbert

The amounts paid to College of Southern Nevada contractors doing double duty at college construction chief Bob Gilbert's ranch have exceeded the college's annual contract limits, according to new information released by CSN.

Universal Paving, Inline Electric and WGDL each exceeded their $400,000 contract limit at least once during the past four fiscal years.

The connection between those companies and Gilbert is the subject of a criminal investigation by the state attorney general's office.

Universal Paving was paid $3.37 million by the college from July 2003 through June 2007, with its sister company, Southern Nevada Construction, bringing in $843,000 more . The companies, owned by George M. Green and Thomas Green, have operated solely under the name Southern Nevada Construction since January, the third name change for the company.

Inline Electric made $1.98 million during that same four-year period.

WGDL made $1.3 million, surpassing the contract limit in fiscal 2005.

CSN employees have alleged that Gilbert used his authority as leverage to get reduced or free work on his Kyle Canyon home. He has also been accused of having the college pay for WGDL employees to work at the four-acre ranch estate. The attorney general's office raided Gilbert's college office, his ranch estate and WGDL offices in June as part of its investigation.

Gilbert and officials from Inline and WGDL have denied the allegations. The Greens have not returned repeated calls for comment.

All four companies bid for the contracts based on hourly wage, and the contracts gave Gilbert the authority to sign off on all time sheets. The college pays the companies $15 to $145 an hour per worker, depending on the skill involved and whether the job requires prevailing wages.

The college at times renewed the contracts or extended the payment limits midyear to allow for the additional payments, citing the urgency of the work being done, according to documents previously supplied to the Sun. However, the contracts supplied to the newspaper account for only part of the total amounts paid. For instance, the college previously provided only one 13-month contract with Southern Nevada Construction, although the financial data released by the college on Thursday show payments over the past four years. The $27,000 paid to the college in fiscal 2004 would have been before the company had a contracting license to operate under that name.

The college could provide only a current draft contract on WGDL, because past contracts are now in the possession of the attorney general's office, CSN lawyer Richard Hinckley said. The Sun requested the contracts in March.

The college also could not provide documents on what other companies bid for the work won by Universal Paving, Inline and WGDL , because those documents are now with the attorney general's office, Hinckley said. The Sun requested those documents in January.

The college has repeatedly denied a Sun request to provide a list of other construction companies working for the college, the amounts paid and the work performed over the past two years. Hinckley said no such list exists and it would take too long to generate. Nor has the college allowed the newspaper to view the individual contracts, which are public information under Nevada law.

The lack of that information makes it difficult to put the amounts paid to Universal Paving, Inline and WGDL in context with what other contractors are being paid at the college.

Hinckley provided the financial information requested by the Sun , along with other documents , after the newspaper renewed its request for information to Chancellor Jim Rogers.

Gilbert has refused to speak to the Sun since February, and other college administrators have not responded to questions surrounding the contracts. In the one interview Gilbert granted, he said there was no conflict of interest in hiring the companies at his ranch because he had no authority over the work they did at the college. The contracts, received two months later, contradicted that account.

UNLV has six pre-approved contractors for small construction and maintenance jobs but still requests quotes on each project from those companies, said Gerry Bomotti, senior vice president of finance and business. Quotes are based on total cost, not hourly wage, and the jobs are awarded based on who can best meet the university's needs for the best price.

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