Monterey County’s board of supervisors likely will vote today following a 10:30 a.m. meeting open to the public to select WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s next track manager.
The meeting (Monterey County Government Center, 168 West Alisal Street, in Salinas, Calif.), as it’s currently constructed, will be little more than a public confirmation of A & D Narigi, LLC (A&D), a pre-arranged vendor designed to serve the county’s administrators and, possibly, repay the company’s owner for his loyalty to the board.
Based on hours of interviews and research conducted by RACER.com, questions regarding the true intentions of Monterey County to select any vendor other than A&D have been uncovered.
Several links between A&D and multiple board members who will vote on Tuesday have also been identified.
The results suggest that A&D is far from an independent contractor.
Although more than three Laguna Seca management proposals were received by the county leading up to its October 31, 2019 deadline, only the bids of A&D, Laguna Seca Management, LLC (LSM), and the county’s current/longstanding property manager, the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), were chosen for final review by the board.
The process is driven by need as SCRAMP’s three-year management contract concludes at the end of the year, necessitating a new agreement with the board’s preferred party.
WHAT IS “A & D NARIGI, LLC”?
Little is known about the company that lists former Monterey Plaza Hotel general manager John V. Narigi as its general manager.
There is a sad story behind the letters “A” and “D” in the name A & D Narigi, LLC — initials referring to Anthony and Dominick, John Narigi’s two sons. Their names came to public light in 2007 when the vehicle driven by Dominick, carrying Anthony and two friends, crashed while driving on one of Laguna Seca’s support roads.
Leaving the 2007 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix MotoGP event in a customized SUV, Anthony Narigi was killed in the accident; Dominick was fortunate to survive the horrific scene, but suffered from the effects of the crash in the years that followed.
In the wake of the accident, “The Narigi family has filed a civil lawsuit against the county alleging the accident was caused by design flaws on South Boundary Road,” the Monterey Herald reported.
According to the county, Narigi, John V. vs. County of Monterey was dismissed at Narigi’s request in 2009, and the file was destroyed in 2016.
Narigi’s emergence as the chosen name to lead Laguna Seca also comes in the wake of his plans to retire from the hospitality industry and return to his home state of Washington with his wife, Roxane.
Listed in the salary schedule included in the contract created by the county for A&D to sign, Narigi is set to earn a starting salary of $229,840 per year if the board of supervisors vote to hire his company.
WHO ARE A&D’S RIVALS?
The LSM group was formed by Long Beach Grand Prix co-founder Chris Pook, whose history in motor racing event management spans five decades.
SCRAMP was created in 1957 to manage the new Laguna Seca road course, and has been hired by the county to continue managing the property since it received the deed to the land from the federal government in 1974.
Although the numbers have fluctuated of late, SCRAMP has employed 20 or more people on the business and administration side, and has a coveted group of hundreds of volunteers who are regarded as an invaluable asset that power the non-profit company’s events.
Tim McGrane is SCRAMP’s CEO, starting in June of 2018.
But, on Thursday, Nov. 14, assistant county administrative officer (ACAO) Dewayne Woods informed LSM and SCAMP by e-mail that A&D no longer had rivals, explaining “The County is now in negotiations with another proposer for management services at Laguna Seca Recreational Area.”
VAGUE AND SPECIFIC
LSM’s proposal provides in-depth detail with the names of five officers along with their qualifications, which explores the vast backgrounds in racing, circuit and event management, parks and county oversight, communications, and financial/asset management.
On the surface, LSM’s proposal suggests its team has been constructed to address the immediate needs of running Laguna Seca.
Although SCRAMP’s proposal does not contain LSM’s level of detail with the names and backgrounds of its leadership team, it could be considered redundant as SCRAMP’s existing staff is well known and works with the county on a daily basis.
Despite the intimate knowledge and direct relationship with SCRAMP’s employees, and the useful insights given on LSM’s five-tiered management structure, A&D’s proposal offers zero information on who would be included on its staff.
The proposal submitted by Mr. Narigi, which has been chosen by ACAO Woods as the best the county has received, lists no one other than General Manager John V. Narigi as a member of the A&D managerial team.
Simply put, as presented to the board in its proposal, A&D is one person.
Left to choose between LSM’s deep team of experts, the well-known group in place at SCRAMP, or the five-week-old A&D company helmed by a lifelong hotel manager, ACAO Woods has arrived a curious conclusion: that backing A&D — the least experienced company, which counts a single employee as its management structure — is in the best interest of the county.
Further supporting A&D’s favored status, of all of the materials prepared for the board meeting, A&D is the only firm to have a contract prepared by the county that awaits execution.
THE PRICE OF EXPERIENCE
As detailed in ACAO Woods’ summary of the three proposals, A&D and LSM are most similar in style and substance, while SCRAMP’s needs and plans are rather distant from its rivals.
Assuming SCRAMP’s proposal ranks last among the three finalists in the eyes of the ACAO, the aforementioned lack of specifics with A&D’s unformed or curiously unidentified management team, compared to the turnkey management solution presented by LSM, paints clear pictures in terms of which team is ready to replace SCRAMP.
On the financial front, LSM would cost the county $109,000 more per year than A&D.
Take LSM and A&D out of the Laguna Seca conversation, and move them into the realm of running a small local airline. With LSM, a proven staff with a veteran pilot, co-pilot, stewards, and ground crew are ready to prepare your plane for flight. A&D, which has never worked with planes, doesn’t know how to fly, and has a staff of one, is the other, cheaper option.
Monterey County has signaled its intent to hire A&D as its pilot for the next three years.