Chief program officer for High-Speed Rail investigated for conflict of interest

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California's high-speed rail project is already behind schedule and over budget.

Now a project consultant has been removed pending an investigation for conflict of interest.

The High-Speed Rail Authority maintains it takes conflict of interest concerns very seriously.

In a statement to Action News, spokesperson Annie Parker said, "We have directed WSP USA, Inc. to temporarily suspend Roy Hill from the high-speed rail program until a determination is made by the FPPC."

A state ethics investigation is looking into project consultant Roy Hill.

Tax forms listed Hill as a Sr. Vice President with WSP, a construction management company which builds transportation and commercial projects.

"He also was being paid over $100,000 a year, might have been substantially more than that, by WSP, which is one of the prime contractors for High-Speed Rail," said Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno). "In all my years of public life, I have never seen a conflict that is this blatant."

Patterson pushed for the FPPC probe.

In 2017, Roy Hill signed a $50 million change order involving a company he invested in himself.

Documents show Hill owned at least $100,000 worth of stock in Jacobs Engineering, which Patterson says provides services for a Valley portion of the project. But the forms don't indicate when he bought or sold the stock or if ownership was the result of a company merger.

"There is no excuse for the High-Speed Rail Authority nor Mr. Hill to suggest that he didn't know that there was huge windfall coming his way," Patterson said.

Action News reached out to WSP USA for comment to our story, but the company never responded.
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