Thursday, August 13, 2009

"The Department of Municipal Development should properly administer contracts."

read the money line from an audit that revealed that DMD was party in a number of irregularities in managing the contract with a company owned by the nephew of one of the good ol' boys in city hall. Auditors found that the DMD did not properly administer contracts on taxpayers behalf.

Mountain West GolfScapes has done some work for the city;
millions of dollars worth of work.

According to an audit, link, by the city's Office of Internal Audit and Investigations, there are significant irregularities in the management of contracts between the city and MWG;

  • "The City has 11 different contracts with MWG totaling $32.3 million. Eight of the 11 contracts had 23 change orders, totaling approximately $9.4 million." The $9.4M in change orders represent an average of 41% in cost overruns.
  • "Seven of 23 (30%) invoices included work order items not listed in any of the work order authorizations, the original contract or in any change order."
  • "Three of 23 (13%) invoices included work order items not listed in the original contract or in any change order."
  • A sampling of work orders revealed; "None of the 9 work order items had field note documentation. DMD management stated the field notes had been discarded."
  • Auditors noted two items which had been added to a MWG work order. "These two items were not listed or priced in the original contract which MWG had bid on, nor in any subsequent change order."
  • "OIAI identified a $40,750 work order issued to MWG with the description of design fees ... and "The work order item was not part of the original contract, and the services provided by the civil engineer should have been selected through the SAC process."
  • "OIAI identified 14 (12%) out of the 121 concrete materials tests, relating to 4 different park projects, where the concrete used by MWG ..." failed to meet city specifications. "The field measurements were made by an independent materials testing company at the job site before the concrete was poured by MWG. DMD construction personnel did not take any action when they subsequently received the test results indicating the slump did not meet City Standard Specifications."
  • "While reviewing supporting documentation for the 23 statistically sampled invoices, OIAI identified a work order item performed by MWG in the amount of $22,000 with the description “Work Completed to Date.” DMD management said that the work had been performed by MWG prior to the issuance of the work order, but did not provide further explanation."
According to the Mountain West GolfScapes website, link, the company president is John Mondragon. He is the nephew of Fred Mondragon.

You will recognize Fred Mondragón, as a player in the Bode Aero suit against Mayor Marty Chavez over allegations of a shakedown of Bode Aero owner, John H. Bode. The Journal offered superficial coverage, link. Better coverage at NMI link.

According to Bode's sworn deposition, Mondragón participated personally in the attempt to get Bode to provide free air travel for the Mayor Chavez; because "that's the way politics works in New Mexico".

At the time that the City of Albuquerque was shoveling money into Mountain West GolfScapes, Fred Mondragón, was Mayor Marty Chavez' Economic Development Director.

The distillation; the nephew of one of Chavez' inner circle was the beneficiary of millions of dollars in questionable spending. The improprieties were revealed almost four months ago, and City Hall did nothing that resulted in taxpayers learning about the incompetence and corruption in the Department of Municipal Development; a department over which the mayor is responsible.

Coincidentally, the decision to not act definitively to inform voters about this scandal, works to the advantage of Mayor Marty Chavez, and his efforts to be re-elected.

photos Mark Bralley

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