A contractor that provides pre-construction services to a public entity may perform a public function in advising the entity about the construction contract, thus subjecting itself to Gov. Code 1090’s prohibition of conflicts of interest in the award of public contracts. Though Gov. Code 1090 (forbidding conflicts of interest in public contracts) expressly applies only to public officials, the case law has extended it to apply to a separate non-public corporation that performs a public function and advise a government entity in making a public contract. Here, the plaintiff adequately alleged that a contractor became such an entity by agreeing to perform professional preconstruction services in connection with a school construction project on which it later entered into a lease-leaseback arrangement with the school district to which it had given advice during the preconstruction phase. Thus, plaintiff stated a cause of action against the contractor under Gov. Code 1090. A taxpayer has standing to bring a claim for violation of that section.
California Court of Appeal, First District, Division 2 (Miller, J.); May 2, 2017 (published May 31, 2017); 2017 WL 2365295