Saturday, October 18, 2014

Son Of Long Beach Courthouse: Check Out Your $4 Million Cut-And-Paste Contract For Criminal Justice Center Project

The Ballard administration belatedly uploaded some documents related to the RFP process it has been conducting for the past six months in secret with three bidding groups. One of those documents is a draft contract the winning bidder will be asked to executed. A quick comparison of the City's draft contract with the contract the California court system entered into with Long Beach Judicial Partners, LLC to build, operate and maintain a new courthouse in Long Beach establishes that it's essentially a cut-and-paste job. The vast majority of the article and section headings, definitions, transaction forms, appendices and reference documents are nearly identical. The Long Beach contract has an article pertaining to a ground lease that's not found in the Indianapolis contract. As if to avoid throwing off the numbering of the articles, the author of the Indianapolis draft contract left that numbered article marked as "reserved."

The more than $12 million in no-bid contracts the Ballard administration illegally entered into with several firms for professional services included $4 million for legal services paid to two law firms: a Los Angeles-based firm, Nossaman, LLP; and Bingham Greenbaum Doll in Indianapolis. Nossaman provided legal services on the Long Beach courthouse project, which might help explain why the contract form Indianapolis is using looks so similar to the Long Beach contract. It was observed when the Ballard administration paid $1 million to Ice Miller to perform legal services on the privatization of the City's parking meter assets that the contract drafted by the firm was essentially a cut-and-paste of the contract the City of Chicago executed for the privatization of its parking meter assets. I have no problem of using other contracts as templates for drafting new contract, a common practice of attorneys. It just seems that it would be a lot less costly if the City allowed attorneys working on its very large corporation counsel staff to perform the legal work rather than pay exorbitant fees to outside firms to simply cut-and-paste from other contracts.

None of this should come as a surprise. It seems the purpose of this P3 exercise is to burden Indianapolis taxpayers with the most costly solution possible for building a new criminal justice center. The Long Beach courthouse project has been heavily criticized because it cost much more to build and will cost taxpayers much more over the life of the long-term agreement with the P3 operator than if the California court system had simply financed, publicly-bid the work and assumed management and control of the building in the fashion public buildings are typically acquired rather than rely on a private for-profit developer to build, operate and maintain it. Of course, there wouldn't be as many campaign contributions flowing to the politicians if they followed my advice.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gary Welsh comes through for the public yet once again, trying to maintain truth, justice and the American way for the people of Marion County. Thank you for continually looking in all the dark corners and shining a light on the corruption that permeates our government.