Monday, April 13, 2009

Wiz Kid unveiled.

The 900 plus pages of Greg Meffert's deposition have now been released and I have more or less read every word. It was generally a waste of time.

I wonder if one of those tapes has the Mayor's missing emails?

The Whiz Kid has a bad case of CRS*, including the names people who worked for him or what they did. He couldn't really articulate what the subcontractors he hired were actually doing.

If you read between the lines you see the outline of that old, dysfunctional city government we all love so much. Meffert seems to have made a heroic effort trying to circumvent the bottlenecks of City Government.

Apparently at Meffert's instigation rather than hire people directly he had an existing IT contractor CIBER (who was hired under a G. S. A. contract without a bid) hire Imagine as a subcontractor, who in turn hired his handpicked "experts". This seems clearly an end run around the States Public Bid law, which is supposed to provide equal access to public contracts. It also circumvents the Civil Service system which, among other things, is designed to prevent croynism and political influence in hiring of public employees. But we already knew all of that. One of the things that former Inspector General Robert Cerasoli did was publicly demonstrate how cumbersome that system is.

In letting the first Crime Camera contract to Southern Electronic Supply and their subcontractor Active Solutions , you can see just how cumbersome the contracting process is. The RFP required three or four months to get ratified in a contract.

Once the contract was let, the City apparently began trying to push Southern to accelerate its work without apparently accelerating payments to Southern. At least that is Southern's contention. Meffert reports being frustrated by a provision of the contract that required the City to pay 50% upfront before the ordering the material. All the City had to do was write a check to solve that one. The city is notorious in business circles for being capricious and unreliable in its payments to vendors.

In fact when Meffert tried to redirect some of the camera purchases through Dell computer. Dell initially refused to extend additional credit to the City, because apparently the city had been lax in making payments for past purchases. That particular maneuver is interesting because Dell was purchasing the camera units from Veracent, one of Mark St. Pierre's companies. Although Dell had never sold these units before, they were apparently added to Dell's catalog for the City's benefit. The City was so anxious to purchase these particular units that they were trying to place an order before they were in Dell's computer systems. How that all came about is not clear.

What is clear is that the City was purchasing from Dell through a continuing purchasing contract that the State or the City was party to, again avoiding a public bid. It's not clear exactly which purchasing contract was used, Meffert couldn't remember. Eventually this blew up because Dell apparently wasn't permitted to sell "camera's" under this contract.

It appears to me that much of the delay in getting the crime cameras up and running may have been due to the City's poor purchasing and contracting practices.

In general the lawyers present had no clue about the technology and seemed to accept Meffert's techno babble at face value. They did however, take exception to being called "dude".

One point I think got seriously obscured by the lawyers lack of understanding is that the "cameras" are not simply cameras as you might think of a web came or a video camera. Each camera location was an assembly of components to house a camera, power supply and networking components. Something which apparently could not be bought off the shelf, at least at that time. When Dell discovered it couldn't sell "cameras" one person at Dell suggested that they just carry on and but rename them "video capture modules"

Interestingly, Mark St. Pierre Owner/Principal of Imagine, NetMethods** and Veracent was present for almost all of the 3 day deposition. So were attorneys for the City, so Ray probably knew everything damaging that happened.

For some of the sleuths out there Meffert did say that he and the Mayor traveled to Chicago for the Saint's Championship game on someone else's nickel, and possibly NetMethods paid for part of it but maybe not.

I can't wait to read some other depositions.

* Can't Remember Shit
** The company that paid for Ray and Greg to go to Hawaii.


Dambala said...

the company that paid for the Chicago trip was HSOA...Aaron Bennett.

mominem said...

Q. The Chicago trip, that was for a football game; is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. Did Mr. St. Pierre attend the football game with you?
A. No.
Q. Just you and the Mayor went and NetMethods paid for the expenses?
A. That's not accurate.
Q. Okay. I'm asking. Did the Mayor go with you to Chicago? Let's start there.
A. Yes.
Q. Did the Mayor go with you to Chicago to a football game?
A. The NFC championship, yes.
Q. A pretty good game.
A. Except for the ending.
Q. How did you get there? Private plane?
A. Yes.
Q. Paid for by NetMethods?
A. No.
Q. Who paid for that? The private plane.
A. It was actually somebody I didn't really know very well that offered it.
Q. Offered it to you?
A. No, offered it to the Mayor.
Q. Who? Do you know who it was?
A. I still don't know who owns that -- owns that plane, no.
Q. You don't know the name of the person that owns it. What expenses did NetMethods pay for you while you were in Chicago?
A. I can't recall. It -- I can't recall what NetMethods paid for or didn't. I paid for some things.
Q. NetMethods paid for some things?
A. Probably.

Anonymous said...

the plane was owned by marshall aviation llc. marshall aviation is brian martial former vp at HSOA. he was booted for misdeeds. this trip also included a 2 day stop in las vegas. brian marshall was/is a high roller in vegas so it would not be hard to imagine that nagin was comped.

mominem said...

If Nagin was comped because a City Contractor was a "whale" then Nagin still received something of value from a City Contractor.

I'm sure EWE was often comped because he liked to gamble, but in his case the comp was on his own account.

Anonymous said...

oh, i agree. HSOA held city contracts at the time of this trip. i think the probability that expenses were covered in las vegas are very high. the former ceo of HSOA, frank fradella, was fond of telling investors (dupes) that he (fradella) has nagin in his pocket.

mominem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tim said...

This administration is crumbling before our eyes. At least what's left of it is crumbling...