Richard W. White
From:San Diego, California
Registered: Aug 2003
posted August 28, 2003 10:16 PM
California Department of Justice
Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550 Aug. 23,20043
Complaint under the State Contract Act
Hello California State Attorney,
I was a reasonably successful general engineering contractor, until the City of Santee, City council voted to ‘default’ me (without notice), in Nov. 1988. The only reason Santee ever gave me was the language on the default notice. My company was defaulted “in support of the labor commissioners investigation.” Two months later, in Jan. 1989, the State Labor Commissioner determined that the complaint filed by Santee engineer Mr. Cary Stewart, was a bogus complaint, and not supported by ANY evidence what so ever! The only legal course of action, for a contractor disputing a ‘NOTICE TO WITHHOLD’ filed by the State Labor Commissioner, is to file suit against the State! So, I did! I filed suit against the State, paid all of my workers to waste their time (and my pay), and they all went down to Labor Commissioners Office. Where they were all interviewed by the State LC. They were instructed to sign an affidavit stating they were all paid correctly. The State LC, actually wrote me a letter, which stated that complaint was without merit, and intended to cause a ‘Notice To Withhold’ to be filed! The State LC explained to me, in his letter, that all future ‘Notice to Withhold’ would not be issued unless filed with ‘signed statements by workmen that were underpaid’ (which wasn’t a rule when Santee filed the Notice to Withhold against me.
The City of Santee has never told me why they didn’t pay for job. And, the City of Santee, has never told me why they didn’t pay for any of the extra work ordered by its City Engineer Cary Stewart, that he ordered and signed for, OR WHY, the City of Santee, has never told me why they didn’t pay the cost of correcting the numerous survey errors we encountered on the project, even though the State Contract Code requires public agencies to pay for extra work, according to the terms of the State published ‘rental rate book’.
AND THE CITY OF SANTEE, NEVER HAS ADQUATELY EXPLAINED TO ME, WHY THE CITY OF SANTEE, ‘REJECTED’ MY FIRST BID WITHOUT CAUSE. I BID THE PROJECT AGAIN, GOT IT, AND STARTED THE $700,000 job.
Many apparently know that litigation has been going between us: But, has any of those City Council associates ever asked the City Attorney what is going on? The City of Santee started three the legal actions against me, for no purpose, except to harass me. One, for numerous zoning violations, was the only one I was ever found guilty of, and that one, was called out by the court at 4:55 in the afternoon. I sent my witnesses home, at 4:45, thinking, wrongly, that court would be called for the next day. I objected, with the late call, but the judgr told me, this is your and you should be ready. I called several of my witnesses , but, they were still traveling home from the long day in the court. The judge gave me 10 minutes to call my witnesses, but all I got was answering machines. The judge held the trial, AT NIGHT, with the courthouse doors locked, so my witnesses couldn’t get in! And, by then, I was so broke that I couldn’t hire counsel! But, it served the City of Santee’s purpose because I was eventually found guilt of ‘storing as tractor’ on my 3 acre open field, that Santee had ordered me to clear of weeds!
I was at that same time, I was a candidate for Santee City Council. When Court ended after eight in the evening, the local newspaper came out a front page article stating I HAD FOUNG GUILTY EARLY NEXT MORNING.
Eight months after I got that job done, I still hadn’t been paid, so I demanded arbitration: The City Attorney then sued the State office of Administrative Hearings and me, to prevent the arbitration. $75,000 in city attorney fees, or more, to prevent the arbitration. How many thousands of dollars in staff time wasted? The other suit, the Labor Suit, is the only solution under the State Labor Code, once a complaint has been filed: Cary Stewart filed the complaint upon no basis what so ever, and that was the finding of the State.
City of Santee engineer requested extra work that wasn’t I paid. The City of requested in writing ‘a bikeway that my subcontractor built. We weren’t we paid, and no one from the City of Santee has ever said why we weren’t paid. The City of Santee supplied survey elevations on the bridge deck that were wrong. Santee engineer Cary Stewart asked us to lower the deck in writing, but we were never paid.
All though this experience, Santee officials have charged me with every manner of zoning misdemeanor violations, trees hanging too close to the sidewalk, ‘fly larva’ in my horse corrals, (none was ever found, despite monitoring visits by City zoning officials), ‘Mosquito larvae in my pond’, (despite, weekly mentoring and visits), and ‘weed abatement zoning violations’. When I tried to clear the weeds, using a garden tractor (that I had borrowed), the City Attorney charged me “with storing a tractor,” (on my 3 acre property), while I was clearing off the weeds, that they had ‘cited me for maintaining’. I was using the little tractor to power a weed whacker type device, I was using to flesh out the concept future Firecat!
Santee devised a way for the cops to take me in, at my house, at 6 o’clock in the morning, and they arrest me and took me to jail, (twice), without me ever being charged. The second time I was arrested, an officer told me, “You’re the guy from Santee, right?”, as if he had something real special for me. I was housed in the downtown city jail, with ‘all murderers’, and various other sorts of other criminals.
One young-man knew me in the tank. Chris Mendez, who was the tank captain, because he was the toughest son-on-a-***** in the tank. He was in for murder, because some guys riding in a truck that he was driving, shot a guy, and that man died, but he put his big leg-like arm around me, and he said to everybody in the jail tank, “Hey, everybody this is Mr. White, and he owns the biggest, nicest house in the City. He is my friend, I want all of you to understand that.
After I went broke, I was welding up the Firecat, in an old junkyard. I didn’t have enough money for gas, a car, rent, or welding rods, but I built the Firecat with junk, and I ended up with a device that demonstrated some of the obtuse concepts I had already built in my mines eye. Eventually, the Firecat was featured on several science & technology, television programs, Next Step, Beyond 2,000, Fire Disaster, and I ended up being interviewed by a writer for Union Tribune. That writer told me “They don’t think too much of you, out in Santee, do they.” The UT really panned the Firecat project, and the investor money dried up real quick, after that UT writer talked to Santee. The same month, California Fire Service magazine editorialized, that the “Firecat” is a lot better deal at $190,000 than a $25 million dollar helicopter.
Santee never did tell why Santee didn’t pay me, although the State Engineers act requires public unities pay for delay, and extra quantities used. I lost my six houses, my 13 acres in Lakeside (on Highway 67), my 1,000 acre mine site in Aragonite, Utah, (I owned the entire town site, with dirt strip runway airport), and I lost everything else. I published a stage drama on the web, at
That drama will become a book, may be featured in school dramas textbooks, but alas, Santee has never told me why I wasn’t paid. I took out a published ad in The San Diego Reader Newspaper, which read (sort of): This ad was supposed to be an invoice, but newspaper wouldn’t allow me to call it that, so here goes: If you lived in the City of Santee in 1076, I figure your owe me, and all the members of your family owes me $375.00. Go to the web site @ http://www.dramex.org/archive/sifs/dearmadam.shtml
If you pay me, and if Santee ever pays me, I will pay the amount of your check , plus 10% interest.
One of the people who saw the ad, was a film local film student. He wrote me an email and said that he make, a film, out of my stage drama.
I will forward this letter (& the accompanying disk) to the Union-Tribune, to The San Diego Daily Transcript, to San Diego The Business Journal, and to the chiefs of Chippewa Indian Tribe, @ Turtle Mountain Reservation, (my grand-mother, Mattie Moon, was born there) North Dakota, to both United States senators from North Dakota, & California, and to as many TV stations as I can think of, so here is your heads-up!
Eight (8) weeks after the default resolution was taken, the State Labor Commissioner completed its investigation of Mr. Stewart’s complaint and it issued a Full Release of the Notice to Withhold to the City on January 23, 1989. When Mr. Stewart received the Full Release, he subsequently refused to rescind the default. Instead, Mr. Stewart and his associate, Mr. Hargreaves, spent their city paid for time, going to every conceivable agency in government, attempting to interest some other agency in their persecution of my business .
The State Labor Commissioner’s Notice to Withhold was issued in the first place only because Mr. Stewart had filed a bogus complaint. The complaint was bogus because it falsely indicated that an audit of my payrolls had been conducted by Mr. Stewart’s office, when in fact no audit had been conducted. Eight months after Mr. Stewart filed the complaint, the County determined, “A number of facts are clear … To date we have no documentary evidence that such violations occurred, beyond the Santee correspondence. ” And under oath at his deposition, Mr. Stewart admitted that no audit was ever done. Period.
Under oath, (I took his deposition!) Mr. Stewart swore that two of my employees had complained to him about under payment of wages, but no evidence of this exists, since Mr. Stewart made no note. Subsequently, the State Labor Commissioner interviewed all my employees under oath and found that no employees had ever complained . It took me several years to obtain a letter from the State setting out these facts.
In his letter of Sep. 14, 1988, Mr. Hargreaves wrote that my payrolls reflected a “vast difference in wages” (between what was paid and what should have been paid). When I asked him in a sworn interrogatory, “On what facts did you rely to make such a statement,” he wrote in longhand in preparing his answer, “The State made that determination.”
Mr. Hargreaves mistakenly believed that the State’s Notice to Withhold represented a “determination ,” but this wasn’t true. The State’s Notice to Withhold was the result of Mr. Stewart’s complaint. Period. But more importantly, when Mr. Hargreaves found out about his mistake, he didn’t correct his memo. When he finally answered my interrogatory with a typewritten response, he stated that he had consulted the project design engineer Joe Arroyo and was relying upon Mr. Arroyo’s report when he made his statement about the “vast differences in level of pay”.
I have asked the City attorney (Mr. Don McLean), to give me Mr. Arroyo’s report on numerous occasions, in writing, and I have asked for a copy of the contract hiring Mr. Arroyo to do the report the City attorney has repeatedly refused to give me either of these public records.
When I asked Mr. Stewart to rescind the Default Resolution, he referred me to the City Attorney. When I asked Mr. Hargreaves to straighten up this matter, he referred me to the City Attorney. When I asked the City Attorney for information or to investigate, he/she has told me it’s a matter of attorney/client privilege. When I repeatedly requested of the City Attorney to allow me to inspect City records, which will shed light on this matter, the city attorney has refused to give me the records. When I show the Public Records Act to the City attorney, he/she refuses to communicate with me.
I didn’t get these record s I have I have referenced in this letter: I got them from other official sources.
Mr. Hargreaves, was assigned by the City to follow-up ‘the labor complaint’ filed by Mr. Stewart. Did Mr. Hargreaves, have any expertise in payrolls or Labor Law? When push came to shove, he consulted with others about how to go about his business. Read his memos, or the meeting notes taken by other officials that exist in official records. Mr. Hargreaves told other agencies that Santee had done an audit of my payrolls “which revealed certain violations.” His statements along these lines are simply in error: no audit was ever done by the City of Santee. Even after the State Labor Commissioner found me innocent and owing no fines, Mr. Hargreaves was writing to his boss Al Krier, “The city estimates (that White) owes $25,577.93 in wages and benefits.” How can that be? Mr. Hargreaves isn’t the State Labor Commissioner: he never did an audit and he has no professional skill or legal authority. Period.
Did Mr. Stewart have any expertise or experience in payrolls or Labor Laws? Mr. Stewart has never hired an employee, never signed a paycheck, never submitted a certified payroll, never been in business. Mr. Stewart’s labor law expertise comes to nothing. Under oath he swore he had taken a course in labor law. But he couldn’t remember where, or when, or if it was a “paid for course” or free, or if it was a one year course or one month, one day or one hour course. It was a course, he swore under oath, but he could remember no facts about it.
I have here, in Mr. Stewart’s own hand, his estimate of extra’s he owes me for my work on the Prospect Bridge. Why weren’t these paid? Mr. Stewart, in his own hand, admits he owes me at least this much: Why wasn’t it paid? When I demanded arbitration to clear up this matter, Mr. Stewart used the City Attorney to sue me to prevent the arbitration. I didn’t sue the City: the City sued me.
The cost for the city Attorney to sue me is over $75,000 in attorney fees, not counting City staff time. I don’t know precisely how much over $75,000, because when the City attorney found out what I was up to, he/she refused to release any more records. But these are public records, so again, why is it okay for the City Attorney to ignore the California Public Records Act?
When Mr. Stewart found out on the morning of July 8, 1987, that the Prospect Bridge wasn’t surveying correctly, he didn’t tell me, as his duty required him to. Instead, he went back to his office and wrote me a letter stating that he was “appalled at my lack of progress”, and he copied the letter to my bonding company. My company needed bonds to stay in business and Mr. Stewart’s letter hurt my bonding capacity.
Santee’s own inspector has wrote letters stating that Mr. Stewart decided to cover-up the survey error in order to cheat me out of the extra cost I had encountered correcting work. The design engineer, Willdan, wrote a lengthy memo discussing the survey error. The project surveyor wrote a letter to Mr. Stewart stating, “We staked the job crooked because your plans were crooked. When you found out about the error, you didn’t tell us.”
When my company attempted to pour the bridge deck, we found that the rebar we had set to City provided grades was too high: the critical ell bars that hold up the bridge deck were sticking up above the finish grade of the upper deck. Mr. Stewart ordered us to cut them off and scab on splices. He told us he would pay the extra cost. I wasn’t paid. According to the City Attorney, it’s attorney client privilege.
When the County Community Development Department became aware that the bridge may have some structural problems because of the spliced rebar and misaligned surveys, Santee replied to its inquiry, by disingenuously stating that the bridge was “build according to the Willdan plans and it was inspected by City inspectors” , thus implying everything was all right. But it wasn’t and it isn’t.
I was reasonably well known in Santee, and my house was featured in color, on the front page of the local newspaper, and in the home section. My house was pictured 4 times over the years, with its twisted chimney, and distinctive ‘teepee’ like pointed turrets on the roof, all in left-handed acquiescent to my heritage.
I almost forgot about one aspect of ‘this’ complaint. .. I sponsored an inter-city Pop Warner football team in 1987/1988 (the Hoyas). As a reward, I offered those kids ‘a really nice barbeque’ at my house, which at that time, included horses, stables, and a 280 foot long pond, which featured Black-swans , colorful Wood ducks, and free wing Canada geese. They all came, along with their families, and all of their siblings. When the barbeque ended, I received a call from one of the Santee City councilmen. The Santee City councilman told me, “This time, you have gone too far.” A few months later, the Santee City Council voted to default me, without any advance notice without any advance notice to me.
This isn’t a simple or pleasant matter, but there is a way to bring it to a just and fair conclusion: this Federal Attorney must order an investigation of the City of Santee, and its City Council with a special eye to The City of Santee’s denying my constutional rights. A lie should only last as long as it takes for the truth to come out. Well now the truth is out and I demand you act on it. I’m forwarding this letter to every newspaper in San Diego, 4 US Senators, (two from California, two from North Dakota), and chiefs of the Blackfoot tribe at the turtle mountain reservation, where my grandmother, Mattie Moon, was born, so this your heads-up!
This is America, ladies and gentlemen, and in America, government doesn’t cheat and it doesn’t waste money covering up for cheats. In America, when government makes a mistake, it corrects itself.
Rick W. White