Forget about losing weight and quitting smoking, Texans need to resolve to pay more attention in 2015.
The recent controversies, suspected fraud, and backroom deals taking place within Texas state agencies are happening so fast that it’s hard to keep up. Procurement deals and outsourcing contracts for state services sail through the bureaucratic paces with barely a cursory examination.
And maybe it’s even possible that turning a blind eye is intentional.
Lack of oversight has been a growing problem in Texas for a long time. Does anyone remember Accenture? Or Cintra? No lessons learned here obviously; Texas is still doing business with both.
And what about Texas’ $462 million student testing contract with Pearson’s in 2013? New York chose to take Pearson’s to court, but not Texas.
And then, just like the dark climax in a film noir, here comes the 21CT nightmare. Apparently, it’s been brewing like a pustule on someone’s dirty backside for several years.
The Austin-American Statesman has done an excellent job of investigating the $90 million dollar lucrative, no-bid state contract with 21CT. It’s ironic that it involves the Inspector General’s office, whose state function (according to the website) is to detect, deter, and correct incidents of fraud, waste, and abuse.
I’ll pause here, so that all of you can finish laughing…
Apparently, Jack Stick and Doug Wilson have been on a witch-hunt for Medicaid fraud for the past 3 years (Stick claimed that “if Jesus Christ were a Medicaid provider, he could find a program violation him.”) and now, their motivation is clear. They had to create a problem to justify the 21CT contract.
The putrid stench of wrong-doing is so deep that Jack Stick, legal counsel for IGO quit, followed by the IGO himself, Doug Wilson, who resigned at the Governor’s request (that means he was fired). It gets more weird as many family members were possibly involved; Wilson’s wife, Stick’s wife, along with Stick’s brother, Jeremy. It doesn’t even count the additional morass of lobbyists and former co-workers connected with Jack Stick that haven’t been named yet.
Of course, there have been no mea culpas, just a lot of head shaking, finger pointing and claims of “I was misled”. While these bad actors are given the benefit of the doubt, the whistleblower, Leah Rayne, was fired for alerting everyone to their misdeeds.
It doesn’t take long to discover that Jack Stick has a long history of questionable behavior. A still-unresolved DWI from September, 2012, taking money in return for dismissing traffic violations as a judge in Bee Cave, sued by a whistleblower for a complaint of his judicial misconduct, and for being a part of the Delay money laundering kerfuffle.