Money

By Brian Sumers, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/05/2013 07:24:18 PM PDT
Updated: 08/05/2013 08:08:30 PM PDT

Related: Los Angeles Airport Commission to weigh $240 million in construction support contracts

Consultants hired to manage construction projects at Los Angeles International Airport receive perks such as free housing, cars, furniture allowances and meal reimbursements, in addition to lucrative hourly rates of more than $300 per hour, a Los Angeles News Group analysis of monthly invoices show.

Consultants with such deals include Irving, Texas-based Paslay Management Group, whose three principal consultants earn
By the numbers: LAX Construction Management Contractors more than $300 per hour for construction advisory services, as part of an overall contract with Los Angeles World Airports worth more than $16 million.

Paslay consultants receive extras, including a $2,648.75 per month for an apartment in the “Playa Del Oro” on Lincoln Boulevard near LAX, which bills itself as a “five-star luxury resort community.” Also in May, the firm billed Los Angeles World Airports $172.64 for AT&T U-Verse service at the apartment, a charge that appears to be for Internet and cable television.

The use of expensive consultants was criticized in June in an audit by former Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel. Her audit found Los Angeles World Airports pays between 15 and 20 percent more to hire contractors than it would pay for city staff handing the same job. The audit also found the airport lacked a sound strategy for when, and when not, to hire consultants.

On Monday, Los Angeles World Airports officials defended their reliance on outside consultants, saying in a lengthy response that “implementation of the LAX Capital Development Program requires a significant team of professionals experienced in airport planning, design, construction, and construction management.” The largest piece of the airport’s building push is a nearly $2 billion international terminal, phase one of which should be completed later this summer.

The Los Angeles World Airports statement noted that about $2.4 billion has been allocated for LAX building projects during the next three years and that the airport has a severe staff shortage to handle construction management. Airport officials said consultants follow all Los Angeles World Airports and city controller guidelines for expense reimbursements. They noted the use of consultants is standard practice in the aviation industry.

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