You could almost hear Riley's nose growing the other day as he told the Alabama press that he intended to sign a multimillion-dollar computer contract with Paragon Source LLC, a Virginia company that has no headquarters, no business phone listing, and no Web site.
And get this: Riley says the no-bid contract is justified because Paragon Source is a sole-source vendor, meaning it is the only company qualified to do the specified work.
While you try to hold back guffaws, consider that Paragon Source does not deal in nuclear-waste cleanup or some such unusual specialty. It's being hired to overhaul the state computer system that is used for financial functions. One can only imagine how many hundreds, probably thousands, of companies do that sort of work.
But here is Riley's explanation for signing the contract:
"Why wouldn't I?" Riley said. "I know of no reason why I should not sign the contract. This is a sole source vendor, a vendor who was recommended to the finance department by the comptroller, by the finance committee, by a group that came in and said this is going to be a sole source contract and a sole source contract can't be bid."
Uh, right. The governor does not mention that the finance department, comptroller etc. are appointed by . . . the governor himself. He also does not mention that, in its existing state contract, Paragon Source paid large sums to other companies.
In other words, Paragon Source farms out much of its "sole-source" contract. That doesn't sound like highly specialized work.
On the same day that he said he would sign the Paragon Source contract, Riley announced that he is going to push for ethics reform in Alabama.
We're not making this up, folks. Riley truly has "big brass ones" when it comes to hypocrisy. But the whole Riley clan seems to be that way, whether its son Rob Riley and his shady business dealings or son-in-law Robert Campbell and the big bucks his law firm has raked in during the Riley administration.
The Paragon Source deal is just the latest example of the Rileys' arrogance. And our guess is that, in the year-plus remaining for the administration, friends and cronies will be treating state coffers like their personal piggy bank--the Bank of Bob, if you will.
What does this say about the Rileys as human beings? Multiple sources have told Legal Schnauzer that Rob Riley is an overgrown spoiled brat. Our sources say that when Junior doesn't get his way, he is noted for essentially saying, "My daddy's the governor, and I can pick up the phone and call so-and-so to make sure things turn out the way I want them to." That can mean costing some troublesome person his job. That can mean applying the screws to an insurance company to make sure one of Riley's fly-by-night businesses gets a favorable deal--one it doesn't deserve. Other sources say Little Rob learned this sort of childish, and unlawful, behavior from Big Bob himself, who reportedly has pulled such stunts for years.
But here is an interesting question: Will one or more of the Rileys eventually step in doo-doo they can't get out of it? Will the Rileys someday screw with the wrong person or persons?
The Rileys seem to think they are untouchable. Could they be in for a big surprise?