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Same Old Richardson Administration Antics

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen ethically questionable decisions from the Richardson Administration in the news (subscription). But, it looks like old habits die hard:

After canceling a request for competitive proposals, the administration of Gov. Bill Richardson awarded a no-bid deal to a political supporter and onetime appointee to supply automated teller machines for the State Fair.

Automated Financial Technologies of Albuquerque, headed by Rafael Gutierrez, got the deal in 2004— about a year after Gutierrez resigned an appointment by Richardson to the staff of the Gaming Control Board.

Automated’s machines replaced those of a competitor, California-based Mobilemoney, which had provided the service and wanted to compete for the business.

Expo New Mexico in July 2004 issued a request for bids to supply ATMs for year-round use and to bring in additional machines at fair time.

Expo officials canceled the request a month later and never reissued it. Automated took over Mobilemoney’s job of supplying additional machines for the State Fair later that year— even though Mobilemoney offered the fair more money than it’s getting now.

Larry Dunnwald, president of Mobilemoney, said he believes the company lost the State Fair business because Gutierrez is a Richardson friend.

Well, Mr. Gutierrez obviously didn’t win the business because he offered the Fair a better deal, so it would seem Mr. Dunwald’s belief has some merit. One thing to keep in mind here is that we, the taxpayers, are subsidizing the Fair’s operations, so when antics like this occur, it is our pockets that are being picked.