E-Mail Forum
Hall Of Justice Remodeling Project Violates State Law & City Policies
May 27, 2001

May 27, 2001

Isiah Turner
Richmond City Manager
City Hal
2600 Barrett Avenue
Richmond, CA 94801

Subject:      Hall of Justice Third Floor Remodeling Project

Dear Isiah:

Subsequent to my letter to you of April 24, 2001 (TOM BUTT E-FORUM April 24, 2001), on this subject, I received from Rick Karvoski, on May 15, 2001, the remainder of the answers I requested.

The information provided by Mr. Karvoski confirmed my worst suspicions about the incompetent and illegal management of this project. With Mr. Karvoski now gone, I hope that you will move decisively to bring competency and professionalism to the component of Public Services that is responsible for projects such as this.

The Architects

According to Mr. Karvosky, the first architect hired was “Tim Craig of San Rafael.” Mr. Karvosky went on to say that Mr. Craig was “a specialist in jails,” and that “Due to delays in his work and cost overruns, Mr. Craig was released after being paid $8,280. We then hired Claudia Falconer who completed the required scope of work within one week at a cost of $1,650.”

I talked to Mr. Craig and ascertained that his firm, T.L. Craig Architecture & Planning, is, indeed, an expert in public safety projects (www.tlcraigarchplan.com). However, Mr. Craig told me that Karvosky’s characterization of his work was totally erroneous. Mr. Craig told me that he had agreed only to assist the City with a preliminary space plan and had made it clear that, due to other commitments, he did not have time to produce construction drawings and specifications. He said that the City project manager never clearly understood the situation and kept asking him to continue working on the project.

What concerns me most, however, is Mr. Karvosky’s admission that the City never had a written agreement with either architect, Mr. Craig or Ms. Falconer. This is not only inexcusably sloppy management and contrary to City of Richmond Administrative Policies, but also a blatant violation of State law. Section 5536.22 of the Business and Professions Code, states, in part:

(a)  An architect shall use a written contract when contracting to provide professional services to a client pursuant to this chapter. That written contract shall be executed by the architect and the client, or his or her representative, prior to the architect commencing work, unless the client knowingly states in writing that work may be commenced before the contract is executed. The written contract shall include, but not be limited to, all of the following items:

(1)  A description of services to be provided by the architect to the client.

(2)  A description of any basis of compensation applicable to the contract and method of payment agreed upon by both parties.

(3)  The name, address, and license number of the architect and the name and address of the client.

(4)  A description of the procedure that the architect and the client will use to accommodate additional services. 

(5)  A description of the procedure to be used by either party to terminate the contract.

Furthermore, when the City selected an architect to complete the construction drawings, they selected one not only from outside Richmond but even outside Contra Costa County. This is a slap in the face to local architects who live or work in Richmond. I have since been provided with the construction documents for this project, and I was shocked to find that they were incomplete, lacked specifications, and generally do not conform to the accepted standards for public works projects. This pattern is consistent with similar past Richmond public works projects involving buildings that I have reviewed.


Continuing the pattern regarding the architect, Mr. Karvosky also confirmed that there was no written agreement with the contractor that provided the fiber wrapping of concrete columns and beams (seismic bracing). In fact, Mr. Karvosky did not even know what the cost of the work was and was simply awaiting an invoice from the contractor. This is another blatant violation of the City of Richmond Administrative Polices.

Apparently, there are no engineering reports, calculations, or drawings that describe the nature of the fiber wrap work, nor is there any indication that a plan check or engineering review was performed by the City on the project design.


Neither Mr. Karvosky nor anyone else has been able to provide even an estimate of the cost of this project or from what budget account it will be paid. Mr. Karvosky’s excuse was that the cost was estimated to be below $10,000, the threshold requiring City Council approval. It appears now, well into the project, that the cost will, of course, exceed $10,000, and that some time in the future, the City Council will be asked to approve it after the fact. Mr. Karvosky mentioned that this would happen May 29, but it is not on the agenda. Meanwhile, in a memo dated May, 11, 2001, Building services Manager, Willie Haywood, reported the project “75% complete.”

Using Building Services Employees for Capital Projects

I have a major problem with the current practice of using Building Service employees for capital projects, such as the Hall of Justice remodel and the City Hall second floor remodel. Such projects consume time of employees that would be better spent maintaining City buildings rather than doing major construction projects. While City buildings, such as the Booker T. Anderson Community Center and the Nevin Community center fall into disrepair, City crews are tied up on construction projects that should have been designed, bid and contracted in a conventional manner. If City crews had seen to the maintenance of the steam lines under the main library, the entire mold problem that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair and shut the facility down for months could have been avoided. These Building Service employees are unusually skilled, but they are being misused.

I want you to know that I do appreciate having had the opportunity to meet with you personally to discuss my concerns, and I want to acknowledge that you shared with me steps you are taking to correct the deficiencies I have noted.


 Thomas K. Butt