A former top–level Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) executive was sentenced Tuesday to four years in prison for lying to the FBI about a lucrative job offer, officials stated.
David F. Alexander secretly solicited and agreed to accept in
exchange for providing “guarantees” of additional LADWP contract money to a lawyer
who held a bribery–fueled contract with the department. The lawyer also served as its special
counsel, according to authorities.
U.S. District Court Judge Stanley Blumenfeld Jr sentenced Alexander, 54, of Arcadia. The judge also ordered Alexander to pay a fine of $50,000.
Alexander, who servedas LADWP’s chief information security officer from May
2017 until February 2019, and then served as the department’s chief cyber-risk officer
for the next six months, pleaded guilty on Feb. 8.
He plead guilty to one count of making false
statements to federal investigators investigating corruption at LADWP, officials stated.
“At every turn, [Alexander]made clear through his actions and his words that his
interests lay in his own financial future…at the cost of LADWP and its ratepayers,”
prosecutors argued in a sentencing memorandum.
Beginning in 2017, Alexander developed a professional relationship with Paul O.
Paradis, 58, is a New York lawyer who – while secretly and simultaneously representing a
ratepayer suing the department – represented LADWP in a lawsuit against
Pricewater houseCoopers (PwC), the vendor blamed for a major billing debacle.
In 2017, Paradis created a Los Angeles–based company known as Aventador
Utility Solutions LLC, which obtained a three–year, $30 million no–bid contract with
LADWP to perform remediation work on the faulty billing system.
Aventador – later renamed Ardent Cyber Solutions LLC – also performed certain cybersecurity–related
work for LADWP.
From February 2019 to April 2019, Alexander abused his position as LADWP’s
chief cyber-risk officer and the vice–chair of the Cyber Security Working Group for the
Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) – a collective of 11 municipal
utilities, including LADWP.
Alexander manipulated the bidding process to unlawfully
steer a $17 million
contract to Ardent by influencing the composition of the scoring
committee to include individuals whom he could persuade to rank Ardent favorably and by sharinghis confidential scores for the SCPPA proposals with other members of the committee to persuade them to score Ardent favorably.
Alexander later met with Paradis and boasted about securing the contract for
In June and July of 2019, Alexander further manipulated in Ardent’s favor an
RFP processfromLADWP for the award of a three–year, $82.5 million cybersecurity
consulting servicescontract. Alexander was one of the RFP drafters and he solicited
Paradis’seditsfor the request to enhance Ardent’s ability to gain the contract over the
Bymid–July, Alexander solicited and agreed to accept from Paradis a future job asthe chiefadministrative officer of Ardent, a to–be–determined executive–level annual salary,a sign–on bonus, and recompense of$60,000 per year for30 years for his early retirementpenalty from LADWP. Alexander did so, intending to be influenced and rewarded in connection with his ongoing assistance in securing the award of the multimillion–dollar LADWP cybersecurity contract to Ardent and use of his position to
guarantee more than $10 million in future task orders for Ardent under the anticipated LADWPcontract.
Alexander also asked for a secret Ardent email address and agreed to accept a
laptop computer to communicate with Paradis and to secretly perform work for Ardent
while he was employed at LADWP.
On July 22, 2019, the FBI executed search warrants at LADWP as part of
the ongoing investigation into the department and the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
Two dayslater during a voluntary interview, Alexander lied to the FBI about his
conversations and corrupt agreements with Paradis. On July 26, 2019, Alexander met
again with the FBI and again lied, falsely stating that he had declined any employment
opportunity with Ardent and that he had never provided any guarantees to Ardent or to
Paradispleaded guilty on January 28 to one count of bribery. He is scheduled to
be sentenced on July19.
David H. Wright,62,of Riverside, LADWP’s former general manager, was
sentenced to sixyearsin federalprisonand fined $75,000 foraccepting bribes from
Paradisin exchange for his official action to secure the three–year, $30 million no–bid LADWPcontract forAventador.
Raul Hernandez is a former journalist. He has worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 30 years at the El Paso Herald-Post, El Paso Times, Press Enterprise in Riverside, California and the Ventura County Star in California.
He was a court reporter for more than 20 years.