Cerritos News _______________________________________ DUSD _______________________________________ Bridge

Socialize

Central Basin President Apodaca, VP Roybal and Director Vasquez Voting to Hire Website Company With Suspended California Corporate License


By Brian Hewes

The Central Basin Municipal Water District Communications Committee, chaired by Board President Robert Apodaca, along with committee members Leticia Vasquez and James Roybal, were all set this past Tuesday to approve the hiring of a website management and graphics design services company called 360 BC Group, also known as 360 Business Consulting (360).

But, Apodaca and Vasquez did not attend the meeting after they were asked to comment the day before on a Hews Media Group-Community News investigation that revealed 360 to be a very questionable organization.

Acting on a tip of a possible kickback scheme, HMG-CN began to investigate 360 and found several suspicious problems with the company.

 Company Suspended by State
A search on the California Secretary of State’s website of 360 Business Consulting, Inc. revealed that the Mission Viejo based company was “Suspended” by the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) sometime before 2010.

Suspended

HMG-CN called 360 CEO Bridget DiRico this past Monday June 1 for comment. DiRico sent an email saying, “we suspended it because we changed our corporate name to 360 BC Group, Inc., our fictitious business name (FBN), also known as a DBA, is 360 Business Consulting, our new corporate name is 360 BC Group, Inc.”

But Kelly Aviles, an attorney based out of La Verne, told HMG-CN, “I don’t believe that a company can voluntarily suspend itself.”

Aviles sent a link to the California Secretary of State’s website that said, “there are three primary ways an organization may become suspended: failure to file your Statement of Information with the Secretary of State’s (SOS) office, failure to pay an amount due, failure to file any past due tax returns with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB).

FBN/DBA Expired
In her June 1 email to HMG-CN, Ms. DiRico indicated that, “our FBN/DBA is 360 Business Consulting.”

However, an examination of the Orange County Clerk’s website on June 1 revealed that the 360 Business Consulting’s DBA expired 4 months ago in Feb. 2015.

OC Clerk's report on 360's FBN/DBA which expired Feb 2015 with renewal June 2, 2015.

OC Clerk’s report on 360’s FBN/DBA which expired Feb 2015 with renewal June 2, 2015.

 

HMG-CN emailed DiRico on June 1 informing her the DBA was expired.

A visit to the Orange County Clerk’s website the next day on June 2 showed that the DBA had been renewed.

DiRico told HMG-CN the next day, “we had sent in our $23 check and form in January of this year. Until you mentioned it, we hadn’t noticed that the check had not been cashed. We contacted the County, they had the paperwork but not the check, and no one knows why. We dropped off a check and they renewed it at once.”

Website Design Company Without a Website Address
DiRico wrote to HMG-CN that the reason for the FTB suspension was because the company changed their corporate name to 360 BC Group, Inc.

DiRico’s company owns the name www.360businessconsulting.com, and that is the main website for the company even though DiRico claimed the company changed its name to 360 BC Group.

A competent business, once they filed their corporate name, would reserve the web address under that name, especially a website marketing company such as 360 BC Group.

But a search of the web address names www.360bcgroup.com and www.360bcgroup.net reveals they are available for purchase; www.360bcgroupinc.com and www.360bcgroupinc.net were also available.

When informed the names were available DiRico told HMG-CN, “we market and have URLs for our brands and products. 360 BC Group, Inc. is not a product nor a brand, so the URL is of no concern to us. It will never be.”

Tainted Selection Process
HMG-CN subsequently inquired about how 360 was selected and was told that a three-person team inside CB interviews companies and rates their service presentation on a numerical scale.

It was revealed that Priscilla Segura and Albert Plimpton were two of the interviewers, with CB GM Kevin Hunt refusing to reveal the third interviewer, only saying that “he was from the Metropolitan Water District.”

Segura is in her mid-twenties and is the Public Affairs Specialist at CB, Albert Plimpton in the head of Information Technology at the water agency.

HMG-CN asked DiRico for the documents her company sent in response to the Request for Proposal for Website Services from CB.

DiRico responded,” As a privately-owned company we do not disclose any information on our clients, finances or operations, other than what is mandated by the state. Because Central Basin is a government agency, they have reporting and public disclosures requirements. Please contact them for a copy of the RFP, proposals, agreements, etc., and they are in a better situation to provide whatever information is legally required, or they wish to disclose.”

When told about the interviewers, CB Director Art Chacon commented, “we already have a great employee in Albert, he does a great job, our website is award-winning, why are we looking to contract our services out at $150,000?”

Bogus Business Office
When informed that HMG-CN was investigating 360, GM Hunt and Public Affairs Manager Joseph Legaspi sent documents via email in an apparent attempt to show 360 as a responsible and organized company.

HMG-CN was sent 360’s business license, which had a business address in the city of Orange, CA.

But on closer inspection, 360’s address, 307 E. Chapman Ave. in Orange-with no suite number-is the headquarters for the Orange Chamber of Commerce and other smaller businesses.

Screenshot 2015-06-04 11.38.56

HMG-CN went to the building and could not find 360 Business Consulting.

Video of building inside and out-

 

Two tenants in the building were questioned and had never seen nor heard of 360 Business Consulting.

HMG-CN called the Orange Business License office and asked how long 360 Business Consulting had listed the address in Orange.

The representative indicated that 360 first took out a business license on Dec. 3, 2013, over 18 months ago.

The only remaining address for 360 is a single family residence in Mission Viejo that is listed on the corporate records.

HMG-CN emailed DiRico about the office in Orange, she responded by saying, “I am not certain why and where you are going with all of this, but I think you are taking this somewhere that is not backed up by the facts. As such, I will no longer communicate with you on this subject.”

Comments

comments

Powered by Facebook Comments

One Response to Central Basin President Apodaca, VP Roybal and Director Vasquez Voting to Hire Website Company With Suspended California Corporate License