Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Redistricting -- hopefully a wrap up to the NDC/Heslop/deficient 2011 proposal -- UPDATED 6:55pm MST 5-2-14

On April 30th, I spoke with Doug Johnson, president of National Demographics Corporation who is also a fellow at the Rose Institute at Claremont McKenna College. Johnson was adamant that any indication NDC had failed to submit pricing information with its 2011 bid for the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission's mapping consultant contract was the fault of the State Purchasing Office (which resides in the Arizona Department of Administration).

Johnson repeated, more than once, that any person who reported to me anything to the contrary was lying and that I should never listen to that person ever again. After having verified that my understanding -- contrary to Johnson's -- was correct, I called Johnson again. I had to give him the opportunity to reconsider his claim. He only repeated it, with equal emphasis.

Today, I have located the documentation, which has been posted online at the AIRC website continuously since July 2011, that casts unquestionable doubt on Johnson's claim that the problem with NDC's blank "attachment 3" (the schedule of deliverables and pricing) was because of technical problem for which any employee or agent of the State of Arizona was responsible.

This documentation, subject to full disclosure subsequent to the award of the contract to a different bidder, is found in two evaluation documents.

Notable in this document is that NDC was docked (by SPO) half of the available points based on its proposal's conformance to RFP terms and conditions. That rating included this notation, "Failed to provide documents referenced in proposal response," and "Provided no information in original pricing proposal document." (Page 5 of the PDF document)
Notable in this document is (on page 13 of the PDF file) AIRC chair Mathis' statement,
Their pricing sheet was submitted late, one week after all other firms submitted theirs. This was not due to a technical glitch on SPOs end but was on NDC's end. There is no way to guarantee that they were not aware of pricing information of other firms when they submitted theirs. It is not fair to other firms.
Now I feel bad for Mr. Johnson because he was insistent, emphatic and repeated his claim to me on two separate phone conversations last night that whoever told me NDC had failed to submit pricing data originally was lying. Well, it's actually the legal record of the proceedings that told me.

If Mathis' comments on the weakness of the NDC bid, and the official notation of the State Purchasing Office were disputable, it seems to me that either Commissioners Freeman or Stertz, or the Koch brothers' (and other Dark Money) funded UNfair Trust operatives (Cantelme and Liberdi) would have said something about that specific point either immediately after the documents were posted or during litigation. Granted, the litigation over the AIRC allegedly violating its lawfully mandated procedures is still pending, but may have been abandoned.

Nevertheless, the publicly available documentation of the mapping consultant hiring process shows pretty clearly that NDC's proposal was grossly deficient by way of omission of important documents. Additionally, individual evaluations of NDC's proposal made by the commissioners reflect the sloppiness of the language in the proposal with the Republican commissioners downplaying this factor and while the chair and the two Democratic commissioners considered that factor to be material in nature and adjusted their scores accordingly.

BOTTOM LINE

The bottom line of this situation appears (strongly) to be that 1) "retired partner" David Alan Heslop, now convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery for incidents and events unrelated to Arizona Redistricting, was one of two owners of NDC at the time the first AIRC granted the mapping consultant contract to NDC in 2001. Doug Johnson bought out the ownership interest of both Heslop and Florence P. Adams at an unspecified point in 2006, while NDC was still under contract to the AIRC. The allegations (and several charges, but Heslop pleaded guilty to only one charge of conspiracy to commit bribery) date back at least to September 2006 according to the 20-page factual basis document signed by an assistant US Attorney and by Heslop.

The 2011 proposal submitted by NDC in hopes of winning the contract to draw this decade's district maps was deficient for several reasons. None of those reasons is related to Johnson's relationship with Heslop.

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This post is meant to also supply an update to two previous Arizona Eagletarian posts, here and here.

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UPDATE 5-2-14

Pursuant to his comment posted to this story, NDC president Doug Johnson forwarded to me a document he says refutes reports that his pricing information (attachment 3) had been received by the State Purchasing Office on any date later than the rest of his proposal. You may view that document.

As far as I can tell, that document presents an acknowledgment that SPO received an attachment 3, but does not specify the contents (lack thereof) or a date/time stamp for when that document was received by SPO.

At this point, I'd love to be able to give Johnson the benefit of the doubt, but as far as I can tell, the available facts do not support his claims.

If I learn specifically how that document might verify or support his claim that my reporting has been incorrect, I will update accordingly.

4 comments:

  1. As you know, everything in this post is factually incorrect. NDC has now shared with you the official confirmation from the Arizona Department of Administration showing that NDC's full presentation, including the cost proposal, was submitted on time. I suggest you remove this post and remove or correct the earlier factually incorrect claims on this topic that you repeated from your "anonymous source."

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    1. Well, Doug, you have not refuted the factual basis of any of what I've posted. I will update to post the document you forwarded to me but that document does not provide any kind of definitive rebuttal.

      I acknowledge that you would like me to remove the post. Unless you can provide a clear, comprehensive, rational argument to justify that request, I'm not going to remove it.

      I provided the links (included in the post above) to show where the publicly available documents have been posted for nearly three years. To my knowledge, nobody has refuted or disputed those documents.

      I'm confident that if what you claim were true, there would have been vigorous discussion in open session about the issue, given that Freeman and Stertz clearly wanted to hire you.

      Delete
  2. "As far as I can tell, that document presents an acknowledgment that SPO received an attachment 3, but does not specify the contents (lack thereof) or a date/time stamp for when that document was received by SPO."
    It's right there at the top of the document -- this confirmation was in the system "June 9, 2011 8:46:35 AM MST" so obviously the documents were submitted prior to that date. And, equally obviously, the "blank PDF" that you and your "anonymous source" so love to talk about was NOT the proposal submission document, but rather was some document generated by DoA (or that DoA failed to generate), since the proposal required submission of the price information in an EXCEL file (as shown in the attachment).

    You can say "I'm confident" and ignore the facts, and I doubt many people will be surprised. But facts are facts, both from this document and because the reason there was no "vigorous discussion in open session" since everyone at the time KNEW that the forms were submitted on time.

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    1. Doug, you're barking up the wrong tree. I'm not the one you need to convince and you haven't and are not likely to convince me.

      If you are going to continue to blame SPO, then work it out with SPO. If SPO declares that it was responsible for the blank attachment 3, then I will be happy to publish it. But I don't see that happening at this point.

      And the RECORD OF THE 2011 AIRC shows what I have linked to and quoted.

      If you have a beef about that, take it up with the AIRC, not me.

      In the meantime, despite your protestations, the RECORD of the AIRC proceedings stand as I understand and have reported them.

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