RICHMOND, Va. – A $50,000 contract deal has now opened up a $500,000,000 can of political worms for City Hall, Richmond City Council and their pro-Shockoe Stadium posse.
Last night, the people of Richmond finally learned why the Mayor and the City Council continue to push forward with plans to build a Stadium in Shockoe Bottom.
The great irony, the Mayor and City Council have yet to realize the dirty little secret revealed last night by the city attorney. Indeed, the city attorney didn’t realize what he was saying.
This blog has been trying to alert the people to this truth for months now. Last night, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s wisdom was proven right again, “truth crushed to earth will rise.”
What happened last night?
The City Council asked the City Attorney for a briefing.
Why? They want to hire a baseball park consultant to review the Shockoe Stadium proposal.
The Council is asking Mayor Jones to approve $50,000 for the consultant contract. Why $50,000? As reported by ace RTD reporter Graham Moomaw this morning, “because anything higher would trigger a longer, in-depth procurement process according to City Attorney Allen L. Jackson.”
That’s right. If the contract award exceeded $50,000, city law requires a public bid process to assure a level playing field for anyone interested in winning the work.
This fair and open and transparent public bid process was put into place to protect against the corrupting influence of political insiders and political power-brokers steering said contracts to their cronies.
Such cronyism is known as “honest graft” in public administration circles, technically legal, but corrupt none the less.
Virginia state law likewise has a $50,000 law to make sure projects receiving state money award contracts through a similar fair, open and transparent public bid process.
These processes were created TO MAKE SURE THERE IS NO CORRUPTION, always a risk in these matters as has been demonstrated time and time again. These processes are there to PROTECT THE PUBLIC AND ITS MONEY.
The Mayor’s “all or none” Shockoe Bottom/Boulevard Development Project may ultimately award contracts equal to perhaps $500,000,000 or more.
That’s right, $500 MILLION!
There is no way to know for sure right now since the Mayor he has yet to reveal all the details for both the Bottom and the Boulevard. Moreover, the City Council has said it remains willing to approve his “all or nothing” plan without much Boulevard details at all.
Indeed, the $500 million number is lower than the price tag used by some in connection with the Mayor’s proposals.
Now, for the real Shockoe Shocker:
Because the Mayor and City Council would be approving all of this as projects to be run through the Economic Development Authority, THERE IS NO LEGAL REQUIREMENT IN STATE OR LOCAL LAW, for the EDA to use a fair, open and transparent public bid process.
The EDA is considered a separate legal entity from the city despite the fact everyone from the Governor on down knows it is run by City Hall. But since it is legally a separate entity, the EDA IS NOT COVERED BY THE CITY’S PUBLIC BID PROCESS.
Meaning the “longer, in-depth procurement process” IS NOT REQUIRED!
Further meaning $500,000,000 in contracts, or a big chunk thereof, can legally be awarded to friends and cronies of those with the political power without the otherwise required competition.
Hello! This is why the Mayor and City Council continue to push forward irrespective of the financial, historical, practical, and representative facts or the public’s opposition.
Now you know what happened last night – inadvertently – revealed the hidden truth.
This is why the Mayor and City Council are desperate to stop the citizen referendum on Stadium issues from getting on the November ballot. They are desperate to avoid the type of informed discussion ensuing in a fall campaign.
But they have left the people with no other option.
Paul Goldman is in no way affiliated with WTVR. His comments are his own, and do not reflect the views of WTVR or any related entity. Neither WTVR nor any of its employees or agents participated in any way with the preparation of Mr. Goldman’s comments.