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SunCal Alameda Point and James Winzler – The Same James Winzler?

In their RFP responses to the City of Alameda regarding their bid for master developer status at Alameda Point, SunCal listed a certain James Winzler as a Senior Project Engineer. In a United States Department of Labor press release on May 31, 2006, the Department announced a settlement over a lawsuit against a James Winzler, a “South San Francisco-based engineering consulting firm” over allegations of the “misuses of employee contributions to pay corporate expenses.” Is it the same James Winzler? We’ve sent an email to a SunCal spokesperson to confirm, but don’t hold your breath.

We routinely send media inquiry requests to SunCal’s press flak people and don’t get a response. We don’t expect this time to be different. So we’ll lay out the facts as we know them now.

In SunCal’s RFP response to the City of Alameda, dated March 8, 2007, they list a certain James Winzler as a project engineer, and provided his resume as follows:

Mr. Winzler has extensive experience managing projects at active and inactive military bases, including NAS Alameda. With over 30 years of managing the planning, design, permitting, and construction of over 100 waterfront projects in San Francisco Bay and throughout the Western United States, Mr. Winzler brings critical development expertise to the Alameda Point Team. Mr. Winzler has experience managing all types of transportation improvement projects, working with regulatory agencies, and overseeing geotechnical issues including bay mud settlement. Mr. Winzler is a licensed professional engineer with over 30 years of experience in residential, commercial, and mixed use development. Mr. Winzler has been responsible for projects ranging in size from 100 acres to 25,000 acres.

We queried the California Department of Consumer Affairs Database for the California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors for engineers with the last name “Winzler.” The database returned only one “James Winzler.”

Name Type Number

The entry for James Paul Winzler, license number 35997, lists an Anastasia Drive, Brentwood, California address.

Now here’s the backstory. As reported extensively in the media, a “James P. Winzler,” of Brentwood, was accused of taking over $100,000 out of a 401(k) plan maintained by GKO & Associates, an engineering firm with offices in San Francisco and Hawaii. According to media reports, James P. Winzler, is the former president of GKO & Associates, which once had 33 participants in its 401(k) plan.

The default judgement against GKO & Associates, and a James P. Winzler, president of GKO, obtained by the Department of Labor, removed the Winzler in question from the position of plan fiduciary and permanently barred him from servicing employee benefit plans in the future. It also ordered that Winzler to repay more than $142,578 to the company’s 401(k) plan. Six months after the court order, the money had still not been repaid, and Winzler had had one of his Hawaii properties go into foreclosure, court documents show.

Is it the same James P. Winzler? Let’s see if SunCal can prove it is not.

13 comments to SunCal Alameda Point and James Winzler – The Same James Winzler?

  • former employee

    Yes, this is the same Winzler. We worked together on Oak Knoll, Delta Coves for Suncal

  • He didn’t take any of your 401(k) contributions, did he?

  • former employee

    Nope. I don’t believe he is currently with SunCal but not sure.

  • barb

    Only one of his Hawaii properties is in foreclosure? Too bad the debtors couldn’t claim an equitable interest in his other properties. Goo to know that SUNCAL only hires the very best.

  • Seems like he had only the one property – a $600K condo. And he filed for personal bankruptcy, which was then dismissed, after he didn’t hold to the terms of the bankruptcy plan.

    For a guy designing high-density, transit-oriented developments, he sure seems to be living suburban sprawl, two-SUV garage…

    View Larger Map

  • Clay Davis

    posting someone’s home address and even a google map of it is not cool. I know blogs don’t really have ethics in this era, but come on.

  • Clay – go look up Winzler’s name in the state database – unlike the google map, his full address, including street number, is listed in the state database of professional engineers, available to anyone.

    The Google map does not include his street address, merely a street address for a block on the street reported by the state database.

    Common practice is to report the block number of the street, as in “500 block of Corpus Christi Road”, as in this example:

  • Former Employee Too

    I worked for Winzler for a couple of years and he is nothing more than a criminal and a liar. Literally if he ever drove over a bridge he would take credit for working on it on every RFP that GKO submitted. In addition to stealing money from the 401K plan, he also did not pay his employees (including me) and kept telling us the money was coming. When I finally resigned GKO owed me around $60,000 in back salary. James Winzler is the biggest crock I’ve ever had the miss-future of meeting.

  • Hank Chinaski

    Former Employee,

    Yea…knew James Paul Winzler for many..many years. This is him.
    My guess is that he must have tried to hedge the 401(k) fund during the dot com and went bust. But, he had the money to cover the loss with his family; Winzler & Kelly..his father up in Eureka ran this separate company; Winzler was Stanford Grad LOADED.

    Very bad Jimmy! Very Bad! But then again you began to hang around fools. You cast your life in shame, your partner Gregg Kimo Okamitsu (GKO), the initials bearing the company name, shame forever on his name…Okamitsu. Kam Yan the third partner of GKO. Jim ran the show and was president and took all the rap for the other two partners who in reality both had full knowledge of the companies daily dealings. Today, all three live in shame as deserved. I still only have part of my 401(k) back. Yea I remember the friendly smiles and encouragement working with you three; you were seen as trusted friends to the employees. This one goes out to the three of you..Fcuk you too!!

  • anonymous

    Hey fuckers don’t people’s addresses on these sites. you guys are losers!!!!

  • Joe Jackson

    now now

  • Truthfinder

    Since nobody else is defending this guy, I’ll offer some pertinent thoughts. This information is from a lawyer friend who represented Winzler in the matter.

    First he left Suncal in February of 2008, so to put this on him is stupid.

    WRT GKO, Winzler was not the president of the Company, that was a guy named Okamitsu who started the company with another guy named Kam Yan. As the story goes – The company ran into financial problems during the previous recession after the Dot com crash and when the president was sued in a sexual harassment lawsuit. A large settlement was reached that broke the comapny. The two original partners (Okamitsu and Yan) left the company and Winzler tired to fix the problems by investing his own resources. He put up his property in Hawaii to settle the 401(k) and other company debts. The property was sold and the proceeds held by a Hawaii Real Estate commissioner on behalf of the Labot Dept until the matter was settled. The commissioner stole the funds and then committed suicide – an FBI investigation was conducted on this. The Labor Department (and the court agreed) that GKO was still responsible for the debt. Winzler agreed to pay it and has been doing so.

    Just the facts as told to me – if anyone is truly interested.

  • SunCal submitted Winzler’s name as someone who was part of their project team for their Alameda Point redevelopment plan.