SAN FRANCISCO -- An investigation finds apparent conflicts of interest involving some of the experts asked to conduct a technical review of the tower foundation for the new San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/ZVJMIF ) members of the new panel created by the Legislative Analyst's Office have current or recent financial and professional ties to the California Department of Transportation and Bay Bridge contractors.

The new panel was formed after a Bee investigation showed conflicts of interest involving members of a Caltrans review panel that judged the foundation sound last year.

Democratic Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, chairman of the Transportation and Housing Committee, says he is "distressed" to learn about the ties between the new panelists, the agency and Bay Bridge contractors.

The experts are to assess whether Caltrans followed proper procedures.

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Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com



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