Thursday, June 14, 2012

Construction politics at Brighton Schools (Millage and Contracts)

It's well known that the Brighton Schools millage folks spent a bunch of money. It was an 88 million dollar bond measure that narrowly passed.

Some of the money came from the MEA, as expected. Some of it came from school board members and administrators as expected. Some of it came from athletic booster funds, which I find mildly unethical as it should cut costs of athletics, but at least an argument can be made for it. Others are some community businesses with close ties to athletic programs and schools which I can understand. Customer loyalty. I don't view that as pay to play attempts because those businesses gave their support before this bond measure was even thought about.

 The most interesting part of the campaign finance reports for the millage election is all the construction ties, many of which aren't tied to the district. It reminds me a bit of Wayne County politics with Ed McNamara and his airport contracts. Now these aren't "no bid" contracts, but some of the winners have been donors.

Brivar Construction - $200
The Green Nexus - Solar Power Equipment - Hamburg -  $100
The Trombleys - Granger Construction as well as School Board - $110
Corrigan Oil - $500
Integrated Designs - $200 (Engineering) - Based in Marquette, although office in Brighton.
Barton Mallow - $1000 (Company $500, Sales rep another $500) - Based in Southfield, sales reps in Macomb.
Stifel Nicolaus - $1500 - Based in Okemos - Financial related company. I wonder what their ties are.
Contracting Resources Inc - $2250 (Construction management).
Sehi Computer Products - $250 - Based in Rochester Hills. 
Gracon Services - $75 (tech company)- Based in Okemos.

Those are donors. Some are in the district, like Corrigan and Contracting Resources. So far the winning contracts are, at least according to the Argus are as follows.

From June 3rd

$3 Milllion - SHW Group LLP (Oversight)
$800,000 - Barton Mallow.

From June 10th

Auch - $3million

These are oversights and managing contracts. We don't know the subcontractors yet, so there could be more winners.

Those that considered included Granger and Clark worked with contracting resources (donor) and Granger worked with Corrigan (both donors). I don't know who is tied with Barton Mallow and Auch, although Barton Mallow was a big donor.

While there probably wasn't direct pay to play or at least no bid contracts, there probably was a big sales pitch for the millage to these groups. If this doesn't pass, you get nothing. Put it $1000 investment like Barton Mallow does, you get your contract and your sales commission. $1000 investment for $800,000+ contract. Great deal if you get it.

What I'd like to find out is how Auch and SHW ties into this. Who are the affiliates and subcontractors and how do they tie to the general contractor and their donations? That remains to be seen, as are any future contracts from this bond.

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