Monday, June 12, 2006

Where There's Smoke....

The case against Georgia Thompson is hardly open and shut. But even if the mid-level state purchasing officer isn't convicted of bid rigging, the circumstances surrounding the state travel contract that is at the heart of the federal charges against Thompson look more and more suspicious as the trial wears on.

Even before the first witness testified or the first document was offered as evidence, it was known that the contract was given to the Wisconsin-based Adelman Travel even though an out-of-state competitor, Omega Travel, actually received the higher score from the committee evaluating the bids. And it was known that Adelman executives contributed $20,000 to Governor Jim Doyle's campaign.

Now consider the smoke Marc Marotta is blowing. The former Administration Secretary who now is Governor Doyle's campaign chairman told the media in October that he had not had any contact with anyone at Adelman Travel after the bid process officially started in December 2004. But records introduced as evidence in the trial show phone calls were exchanged between Marotta's office and Adelman Travel while the bid evaluation process was ongoing.

It is possible Marotta himself did not participate in the phone conversations. The phone records do not prove otherwise. But when asked about it now, he does not offer that defense. He just refuses to comment.

At best, it now appears Marotta misled the public about his and his office's role in the travel contract saga. At worst, he outright lied.

No comments: