Rail authority officials investigated over trips

Fair Political Practices Commission to investigate trips that were paid for by foreign governments

The state agency charged with ethics enforcement has launched an investigation into whether California High-Speed Rail Authority board members have failed to properly document their trips abroad -- trips that were paid for by foreign governments.

The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has informed board Chair Curt Pringle, former Executive Director Mehdi Morshed and board members Quentin Kopp and Lynn Schenk that they are now subjects of the probe. The investigation was launched after the Los Angeles Times revealed that board members took trips to Europe without properly disclosing these trips on their annual reports on gifts.

The commission sent letters to the board members and to Morshed on Oct. 29 saying that it has "initiated an investigation that as a member of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, you violated the Political Reform Act's limitation on the receipt of gifts provisions."

"At this time, we have not made any determination about the allegation(s)," the letter states. "We are simply providing you with this information as a courtesy and may be contacting you again to discuss this matter."

Roelof van Ark, who was hired as the authority's CEO in May, said in a statement after the Los Angeles Times story came out that he has requested a system-wide review of the authority's policies and procedures.

"In the course of that review, some lapses in our record-keeping were discovered," van Ark said. "They have since been corrected."

He also said the authority has "already provided all required documentation for the most recent international trip undertaken by Authority personnel."

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Like this comment
Posted by WitchHunt
a resident of Barron Park
on Nov 12, 2010 at 10:41 am

My name says it all.

Like this comment
Posted by Just don't get it...
a resident of Southgate
on Nov 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm

It's about time they woke up and figured this out!! Is it OK for our greedy governor Arnold to also accept these vacation trips? Did Ron Diridon also go on these trips?

Like this comment
Posted by Moe
a resident of another community
on Nov 12, 2010 at 12:42 pm

WitchHunt is right! How many desparate people could be helped with all the time, money and energy wasted on useless bureaucracy.

Like this comment
Posted by Waitasec
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Nov 12, 2010 at 2:39 pm

This project is rotten to the core.

Like this comment
Posted by hey
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Nov 13, 2010 at 2:32 am

we need to expand...and people will move along the train areas for better transit...stop holding people back with your views.. No matter what this will happen anyways its a federal issue not a states problem

sell your home now if you dont want this built in your backyard and have the prices drop after this is built...

Like this comment
Posted by getalife
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Nov 13, 2010 at 10:11 am

GET A LIFE and report on something else for once Sheyner instead of your constant "SKY IS FALLING" HSR "stories"

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