In the March 13, 2014 edition of the Arizona Republic there is a story by Paul Giblin and Craig Harris entitled Contract violated Glendale Policies. Here is the link: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/glendale/2014/03/13/contract-violated-glendale-policies/6359209/ .
It reports that former City Attorney Craig Tindall may have used his influence to award a no-bid contract for the city’s external audit to a friend, Jose de Jesus Rivera of the firm of Haralson, Miller, Pitt, Feldman and McAnally. Apparently Tindall was close enough and comfortable enough to Rivera to send an email on his city computer soliciting tax exempt tuition funding for his son.
Typically contracts over $50,000 are required by city policy to go out to bid as a Request for Proposal (RFP). As a professional services contract that requirement may not have been necessary but there remains a question of undue influence. Surely for a contract of this dollar amount, while not required to go to bid, it may have been prudent to do so. Members of the Glendale City Council seem to be shrugging their shoulders while kicking the can down the road and alluding to “that’s the way it has always been done.” They don’t want any part of this latest debacle.
By the end of the external audit the cost would be over half a million dollars, ten times the amount required for an RFP. Rivera thought there would be an RFP and asked Tindall via email about its timing and release. Instead Tindall submitted a memo to then Interim City Manager Horatio Skeete recommending the use of Rivera and his law firm. Skeete wanted to put the contract out for bid and to issue an RFP but for reasons unknown that did not occur. The result of the external audit was to place blame on Skeete and to completely exonerate Tindall. Could it have been that Rivera, as Tindall’s friend, was well aware of the bad blood between Tindall and Skeete? As friends it appears plausible they may have discussed it. Did that knowledge play any role in the final outcome of the external audit? It seems to be worth your consideration and your decision.
Was the external audit result payback to Skeete by Tindall for having lost his bid to become Interim City Manager? It there a connection between Tindall’s failed attempt to become Interim City Manager and the audit conclusions? You will have to decide. It was a bloody battle for the position of Interim City Manager. Tindall’s supporters on city staff lobbied me and I assume, the rest of council, disparaging Skeete. No such effort occurred on the part of Skeete or any supporters he had. During this period Tindall apparently stalled contracts and other documents on his desk seemingly in an effort to further bloody Skeete’s nose. Council was evenly split between the two candidates and it was Alvarez who broke the tie in favor of Skeete. It appears that Tindall wanted the position far more than he was willing to admit publicly and was disappointed that he did not prevail.
The Republic story goes on to say that Tindall is under on-going investigation by the state Attorney General’s regarding the issuance of this no-bid contract. He is also under an on-going investigation by the state bar as a result of a complaint filed by former Councilmember Phil Lieberman regarding a presumed conflict of interest. Lieberman’s complaint alleges Tindall was employed by the city while he also was general counsel to IceArizona, successful bidders on the Jobing.com Arena management contract, constituting a conflict of interest. I do remember a conversation had with Tindall during the period of the Jamison bid for the arena management contract and his assertion that he was talking to other “serious” bidders ready to come forward if the Jamison bid failed. Was Anthony LeBlanc, of IceArizona, one of those “serious” bidders? How much information about the Jamison bid was shared with these “serious” bidders? Skeete alleged to me, and presumably other councilmembers, that Tindall appeared to be holding up negotiations as the Jamison contracts sat on his desk for inordinately long periods of time. When Skeete was queried as to his awareness of the most recent Jamison contract amendments, his response was that Tindall still had them and he had not seen them. Were these actions by Tindall more payback to Skeete or even worse, was it an attempt to railroad the Jamison bid in favor of these other “serious” bidders? I don’t know and don’t know if we will ever find out. All we know is that there are connections – between Tindall and Rivera; Tindall and Skeete; and Tindall and “serious” bidders for the arena management contract. What part these connections played in the outcomes is yet to be discovered.
© Joyce Clark, 2014
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