RICHMOND, Va. – A recently released document reveals new details into the Mayor’s Shockoe Stadium No Bid secret sweetheart deal. A 20 percent secret partner will be handpicked to get a sweet deal for one of the projects. The Council keeps enabling the Mayor to keep this kind of stuff alive. It has to stop.
On Saturday, a Republican who recognized me as a former Democratic Chair signed the referendum petition and said, “Paul, we don’t agree on much but you are right, something doesn’t smell right here and all my friends – liberal, conservative and in between – are getting very upset over this thing.”
If you need to know why this feeling is growing in our City, read further.
For the first time for almost all of you, here you can read two clauses in one of the no-bid back room deals. Called the “Stadium South Memorandum of Understanding”, this no-bod sweetheart deal contains the following clause #6 in the section entitled “Agreement”:
“There will be a 40 percent MEB/ESB goal on construction of the entire Project. SWA Architects may be employed to provide A & E services. A 20 percent MBE/ESB goal will apply to all A & E services not self-performed by SWA. With respect to the apartment/residential component of the Project, there shall be a 20 percent MBE/ESB development and ownership of such component.” [Emphasis added]
Then there is the following pertinent part of clause #10 from the same legal document:
“The Parties agree that all documents delivered pursuant to his MOU and all subsequent agreements will remain confidential. Except to the extent compelled pursuant to subpoena, summons order or other judicial process, no Party shall disclose such confidential information, without the consent of the other Party.” [Emphasis added]
The clause later technically says it is only good for three years but trust me, there are a zillion ways to extend it forever, either de jure or de facto.
It is a no-bid secretive deal until at least the Mayor and this Council are conveniently out of office! Coincidence?
But that isn’t the most intriguing part. Clause #6 doesn’t mention Lou Salomonsky by name, But clause #6 suggests Lou or his business will get not only a sweetheart no-bid deal for architectural and engineering services but that he has agreed [shall] to give a 20 percent ownership interest in another no-bid Stadium related deal to an unnamed business “partner” with the appropriate certification from the Office of Minority Business Development in the Jones Administration.
Why would Lou, one of the wealthiest and most successful real estate developers in Virginia, need a 20 percent secretive partner? Or a no-bid contract for that matter?
I defy anyone in the Jones Administration to produce any city contract containing such a secretive deal. Indeed, why can’t Lou or anyone else compete openly for the business here, indeed why are the Mayor and Lou and their pro-stadium posse afraid to have an open, transparent and fair to all process?
Why isn’t the Council insisting on a fair process? Instead they are okay at least so far with manipulating the Economic Development Authority law to benefit those with political connections. How does that help Richmond?
As best I can tell, most of the folks benefiting from the NO BID contracts are capable of holding their own in a competitive bid process. Let them compete honestly therefore.
What price Richmond’s reputation? Twenty percent secret partners, the name or names never to be revealed, all part of a public project? Forty percent contractors all on a no-bid basis, so those considered “politically correct” can be chosen?
Why does the Council keep enabling the Mayor instead of ending this farce? The people deserve at least one voice in the media willing to speak out and try to save Richmond’s reputation.
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.