The press conference Feburary 8, 2011 where Mayor Dickert gave 1.2million dollars to Delta Hawk to produce engines in the City of Racine WI. Was this a good investment at the time? What is this claw back Mayor Dickert? Is the City of Racine investing wisely with City funds? What are the future investments the City of Racine are about to make?
Check out Racine Transparency http://racinetransparency.tumblr.com/
Check out Racine Exposed http://racineexposed.wordpress.com/
Here is a video review of cable commission meetings, finance committee meetings, a flip copy of request for proposal 15 and audio of conversations surrounding the outsourcing of ( car 25) Racine's community access channel. The video and documentation speak for themselves. Aldermen Keith Fair early on asked for an investigation into bid rigging and collusion but his colleagues and law enforcement stated it to be unfounded. You be the judge.
Ald. Ray DeHahn at the city of Racine finance meeting on 2-11-2013 states that skies fall media the contractor selected to run the local access channel car 25, will keep current staff on as employees. This was never stated by skies fall media representatives. The budgetary restrictions could no way support the current staff and include the new staff, this was well known and well discussed.
Finance meeting 12-11-2012 Skies Fall was already selected as the new contractor for cable access channel (car-25). Not only picked but evaluated and scored by the ad hoc committee.Who picked the committee? Why was a demonstration by the two contractors done at the cable commission meeting 1-21-2013 when the scoring was done in the backroom at city hall.Why did Cable Commissioner Ron Thomas not score? Why did the mayor go on WRJN radio and announce they picked Skies Fall Media in early December 2012? Why? so many Whys? Read the article below to get the in depth workings and full story.
Ald. Ray DeHaan at the City of Racine finance meeting stated that Ron Thomas chairman of the cable commission did not score the matrix evaluation on the two contractors bidding for the contract on the local access channel car 25 because he was just an observer. Ron Thomas states at the cable commission meeting that he was not an observer but uncomfortable with scoring the contractors because neither of the contractors demonstrated to the commission as required by the request for proposals. The scoring process was held 12-5-2012 behind closed doors at City Hall by a hand-picked ad hoc committee. The demonstrations by skies fall media and badger media at the cable commission on 1-21-2013, was just for show. The decision to pick skies fall media was already made.
Ald. Hart of the City of Racine clearly asks for EACH COMMITTEE MEMBERS process behind the method used to arrive at the scores in selecting the contractor to run the local cable acess channel. No one was able to answer. Paul Ancona Department Head of cable access channel cannot answer the question.WHY?
Alderman Ray DeHahn from the City of Racine WI.. Ray Talks about his 8 years of service on the cable commission.. One problem, he has only been on the commission for 3 years. He recaps with his personal guarantee of the flawless selection process in contracting the next community access channel provider for the City of Racine WI.
Ald. Hart and Ald. McCarthy from the City of Racine Wisconsin discussing the request for proposal for outsourcing the local community channel car 25. Two RFPs were sent out by the city # 7 and # 15. Number 7 required experience in the community access channel among other things, number seven was scrapped by the City of Racine. Number 15 was then sent out requiring no experience in cable access channel among other things. RFP 15 required a bid amount to be submitted with the company's proposal. Where is the amendment aldermen Hart speaks of and the requirement to work within the budget the city has allocated? Was this discussed before this meeting? Where is the amendment? Was the amendment discussed with skies fall media? And who had contact from the city with skies fall media?
More Clips to Follow
Questions surrounding the official bidding process for Racine cable access car 25 hit a head at the cable commission meeting on December 17, 2012. At the meeting citizens, producers of car 25 and employees questioned the evaluation of the companies bidding for the position. An evaluation matrix was put forth by the cable commission, ad hoc committee members consisting of Paul Ancona MIS manager, Ron Thomas chairman of the cable commission, Ald. Ray DeHahn, and Mary Jerger Osterman were appointed to oversee the selection process. There have been accusations that the ad hoc committee never met with either cable bidder for demonstrations of their abilities to run a cable access channel as required in section 3.3 of bid proposal number 15. However badger media company owner Scott Nelson current operator of cable access Racine car 25 was given a score of 21. Skies fall media was given a matrix evaluation score of 76. Sources close to the operation of car 25 question how can a company with no cable access experience outscore the current operator by such a wide margin, when neither company was interviewed.
On December 5, 2012 a signed letter from the purchasing department stated in part "The purchasing agent attended the evaluation meeting and acted as a moderator and facilitator. Based on the scoring of this RFP the evaluation committee is recommending that a contract be entered into with skies falls media for a one-year term beginning 2013." It has been suggested that the process to outsource car 25 has been flawed from the very beginning. Aldermen Fair has filed a complaint with the city district attorney for investigation into possible collusion and bid rigging by the city of Racine. Alderman Fair stated "this is just the tip of the iceberg this stuff runs deep
Alderman Fair’s bid-rigging claim called unfounded
Below are articles written by the Racine Communicator
Is Car 25 turning into a propaganda Channel 9-15-12
What has happened with the controversy surrounding the community/access/government programming channel Car 25? Back in 2010, Mayor John Dickert recommended Vice President of Soura Films Sandy Petrykowski to be awarded a one-year contract to renovate Car 25.
The City of Racine’s Finance and Personnel Committee then held a meeting to discuss paying the Emmy-nominated videographer $40,000 for an average work week of 20 hours. The first meeting tabled the issue to accommodate further discussion which ensued later, drawing large attendance. Petrykowski ended up taking her hat out of the ring for the contract position. And the position was reposted for a salary of $16.30 per hour. Mayor Dickert also indicated that if cable commission members wanted to apply they would have to resign from their roles.
The position posting was eventually eliminated and it was decided that the money would be used toward the purchase of new equipment for the station instead.
Two years later, the controversy continues. Former Car 25 Cable Commissioner Wayne Clingman in a recent interview said a documentary on Mayor John Dickert’s race was to have been developed by Petrykowski in 2010, but to Clingman’s knowledge, he said, “To date, I do not know of anyone who has seen it.”
Clingman said he also does not agree with the politics surrounding the Car 25 cable channel.
“In my opinion. Car 25’s mission is to be a public access channel, featuring community members,” Clingman. “It seems to be turning into an outlet for Mayor Dickert for his own interests and propaganda.”
When Clingman served as the Cable Commissioner from 2005-2008, he said Car 25 served the needs of the community.
“Many of the commission members who I worked with were dismissed because of their opposition to the hiring of Petrykowski,” Clingman said. “Today’s commission seems to be comprised of many individuals who have no experience with cable whatsoever.” He cited that one member is a former cook.
Clingman said he believes the mayor has his own agenda when it comes to Car 25.
“I find it disgusting,” Clingman said. “There are just too many items that aren’t transparent when it comes to the way the cable station is being run.”
Another source, who wishes to remain unidentified, said that “there may not be any funds to operate Car 25 in the future, and the project could be shut down and then restarted with a newly assembled team.”
Alderman and Car 25 Cable Commission member Ray DeHahn said for the project to be shut down there would need to be a request for proposal (RFP).
“Our intention is to make the channel something the people of the community want to watch,” DeHahn said. “The mayor is pushing for more educational programs, and there are currently a lot of community shows on there. I don’t believe we will be receiving any more money next year for our budget. And without more money, change won’t come easy,” DeHahn said.
A Follow up Story 10-2-12
A follow up story from a recent article in the Racine Communicator has uncovered information to the bidding process for the new operation and management of Racine's community access channel Car 25. Car 25 is the City of Racine's local community channel, Racine residents and community groups are encouraged to become member producers for Car 25 using the equipment for production and programming to produce programs or cover events of their choice. Community access channel also covers Common Council meetings, Committee of the Whole meetings, press conferences and matters addressing the city. The funding comes from Time Warner through a percentage of gross revenues. The City of Racine collects 10% of Time Warner and AT&T gross revenues from the City of Racine. The agreement stems from equipment placed on city property in lieu of payments for the use of that property. Revenues range from 600,000 to $800,000 to the City per year. The community access channel receives approximately 10% of that amount. Currently car 25 has a staff of one full time employee, Scott Nelson (10 years) and one part time employee working 15-20 hours per week, the station operates on a budget of approximately $75-$90,000 a year.
In April 2012 the City of Racine sent out a request for proposals (RFP) for the operation and management of Racine's public access channel Car 25, the proposals due date was May 11, 2012. At that time only one proposal was submitted and the cable commission in their minutes suggested that another RFP should be authorized. Rob Krug a cable commission member stated in the July 16, 2012 cable commission meeting minutes "I met with Mayor Dickert regarding the RFP". Krug then stated "the cities request for proposal went out, only one response came in." "After the deadline passed, three more proposals came in." "The city is not happy with having only one response, so they will reopen the process so that they have four responses to consider." Another request for proposals (RFP) was sent out September 14, 2012 with the proposal due date October 15, 2012. In the July 16, 2012 cable commission meeting minutes Mary Jerger - Osterman stated "The current staff does a good job, but has reached their administrative capacity, the idea of a third party is to use their management and organization skills and deeper pockets." A sticking point between the current station operator Scott Nelson and some members of the cable commission is revenue growth through commercials and sponsorships. In the May 21, 2012 cable commission minutes Nelson states, " This hasn't been done I have concerns regarding stepping into uncharted territory with Time Warner and their ad sales and advertising departments, This has been highly forbidden in years past, and is not truly the intent of community access television."
There have been suggestions of unethical activity surrounding the request for proposals. Wayne Clingman a critic of the current cable commission had requested an open records request as to the responses to the first RFP. Clingman said "To this date I have not received a word, the request went out in early July." An unidentified source stated" Scott Nelson's Company the current operator of Car 25 was the only bidder in the first RFP."
The Communicator acquired copies of each RFP and examined the differences between them. A striking difference between the April 2012 RFP and the September 14, 2012 RFP, in the September 14th RFP missing requirements included, “The promotion and education of the public with respect to the City of Racine's public access television services for promoting community dialogue and community diversity." This requirement along with “the contractor must show proof of experience in the operation and management of a public access television organization." Another section states, "Contractor shall pay for prorated public utility and maintenance services to the facility, including, but not limited to water, telephone and electric, heating and janitorial /custodial." Also a substantial reduction in administration and management requirements were also not included in the September 14, 2012 RFP.
Examining the City of Racine meeting minutes for the Cable Television Commission July 16, 2012, commission member Alderman Hart questioned "Why is the city even putting out an RFP", In the same meeting member Alderman DeHahn stated," I'm bothered that the RFP was put out without us knowing about it, it makes us look like clowns." Larry Gregg another member stated “The station manager job description is what we need, not to bid out $300,000 to do the same job Scott is doing." The September 14, 2012 RFP as of press time was not posted on the City's website. The cable commission minutes of July 16, 2012 also states, "Rob Krug was called into the office to discuss all this with the Mayor because he authored the RFP". Rob Krug currently is in partnership with Mick Wynhoff and John Acheson, in a video company called Random Creative Group http://www.randumcreativegroup.com/team.html located at 1509 Rapids Dr. Racine. Cable Commissions members include Chairman Ron Thomas, Alderman Ron Hart, Alderman Ray DeHahn, Larry Gregg, Rob Krug, Mary Jerger-Osterman, Kimberly Kane, Walter Feldt, and Doug Davis.
Note: RFP #15 included additions of Random Creative group and Skies Falls Media.
Detecting Bid Rigging, Price Fixing, And Other Types Of Collusion
Bid rigging, price fixing, and other collusion can be very difficult to detect. Collusive agreements are usually reached in secret, with only the participants having knowledge of the scheme. However, suspicions may be aroused by unusual bidding or pricing patterns or something a vendor says or does.
Bid or Price Patterns
Certain patterns of bidding or pricing conduct seem at odds with a competitive market and suggest the possibility of collusion:
The same company always wins a particular procurement. This may be more suspicious if one or more companies continually submit unsuccessful bids.
The same suppliers submit bids and each company seems to take a turn being the successful bidder.
Some bids are much higher than published price lists, previous bids by the same firms, or engineering cost estimates.
Fewer than the normal number of competitors submit bids.
A company appears to be bidding substantially higher on some bids than on other bids, with no apparent cost differences to account for the disparity.
Bid prices drop whenever a new or infrequent bidder submits a bid.
A successful bidder subcontracts work to competitors that submitted unsuccessful bids on the same project.
A company withdraws its successful bid and subsequently is subcontracted work by the new winning contractor.
Identical prices may indicate a price-fixing conspiracy, especially when:
Prices stay identical for long periods of time.
Prices previously were different.
Price increases do not appear to be supported by increased costs.
Discounts are eliminated, especially in a market where discounts historically were given.
Vendors are charging higher prices to local customers than to distant customers. This may indicate local prices are fixed.
Suspicious Statements or Behavior
While vendors who collude try to keep their arrangements secret, occasional slips or carelessness may be a tip-off to collusion. In addition, certain patterns of conduct or statements by bidders or their employees suggest the possibility of collusion. Be alert for the following situations, each of which has triggered a successful criminal antitrust prosecution:
The proposals or bid forms submitted by different vendors contain irregularities (such as identical calculations or spelling errors) or similar handwriting, typeface, or stationery. This may indicate that the designated low bidder may have prepared some or all of the losing vendor's bid.
Bid or price documents contain white-outs or other physical alterations indicating last-minute price changes.
A company requests a bid package for itself and a competitor or submits both its and another's bids.
A company submits a bid when it is incapable of successfully performing the contract (likely a complementary bid).
A company brings multiple bids to a bid opening and submits its bid only after determining (or trying to determine) who else is bidding.
A bidder or salesperson makes:
Any reference to industry-wide or association price schedules.
Any statement indicating advance (non-public) knowledge of competitors' pricing.
Statements to the effect that a particular customer or contract "belongs" to a certain vendor.
Statements that a bid was a "courtesy," "complementary," "token," or "cover" bid.
Any statement indicating that vendors have discussed prices among themselves or have reached an understanding about prices.
A Caution About Indicators of Collusion
While these indicators may arouse suspicion of collusion, they are not proof of collusion. For example, bids that come in well above the estimate may indicate collusion or simply an incorrect estimate. Also, a bidder can lawfully submit an intentionally high bid that it does not think will be successful for its own independent business reasons, such as being too busy to handle the work but wanting to stay on the bidders' list. Only when a company submits an intentionally high bid because of an agreement with a competitor does an antitrust violation exist. Thus, indicators of collusion merely call for further investigation to determine whether collusion exists or whether there is an innocent explanation for the events in question.
Conditions Favorable To Collusion
While collusion can occur in almost any industry, it is more likely to occur in some industries than in others. An indicator of collusion may be more meaningful when industry conditions are already favorable to collusion.
Collusion is more likely to occur if there are few sellers. The fewer the number of sellers, the easier it is for them to get together and agree on prices, bids, customers, or territories. Collusion may also occur when the number of firms is fairly large, but there is a small group of major sellers and the rest are "fringe" sellers who control only a small fraction of the market.
The probability of collusion increases if other products cannot easily be substituted for the product in question or if there are restrictive specifications for the product being procured.
The more standardized a product is, the easier it is for competing firms to reach agreement on a common price structure. It is much harder to agree on other forms of competition, such as design, features, quality, or service.
Repetitive purchases may increase the chance of collusion, as the vendors may become familiar with other bidders and future contracts provide the opportunity for competitors to share the work.
Collusion is more likely if the competitors know each other well through social connections, trade associations, legitimate business contacts, or shifting employment from one company to another.
Bidders who congregate in the same building or town to submit their bids have an easy opportunity for last-minute communications.
What You Can Do
Antitrust violations are serious crimes that can cost a company hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and can send an executive to jail for up to ten years. These conspiracies are by their nature secret and difficult to detect. The Antitrust Division needs your help in uncovering them and bringing them to our attention.
If you think you have a possible violation or just want more information about what we do, contact the Citizen Complaint Center of the Antitrust Division:
Phone: 1-888-647-3258 (toll-free in the U.S. and Canada) or 1-202-307-2040
Citizen Complaint Center Antitrust Division, U.S. Dept. of Justice 950 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 3322 Washington, DC 20530