When Riley starts pushing for a fishy no-bid contract, that usually means a member of the extended Riley clan--or one of their close associates--stands to benefit.
Alabama Rep. Alvin Holmes apparently intends to find out what is up. He says he will seek a subpoena of Paragon Source CEO Janet Lauderdale. Holmes told Bob Lowry, of The Huntsville Times, that members of the Riley administration have been blocking his efforts to learn more about Paragon Source:
If Lauderdale doesn't honor the committee's subpoena to appear before the panel, Holmes said a lawsuit would be filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court.
Holmes has been rebuffed for nearly a month by Gov. Bob Riley's administration in his efforts to obtain more information about the firm. He has asked for the names, addresses, job descriptions and salaries for each employee.
"I know Bob Riley has been calling members on the committee," said Holmes. "He's trying to get them stop the subpoena."
Even the sleepy Alabama mainstream press, which normally gives Riley a free pass on most anything, has been paying attention to the Paragon Source story.
The Gadsden Times addressed the subject in an editorial titled "No Bid Contract? No Way!" Wrote the Times:
Something smells with this company, and it is about to receive a big chunk of taxpayer money. Our money. Money that is desperately needed to run the state’s business.
Any state agency has a phone number, an office and probably a Web site. So what gives with this firm with no office, no phone or Web site. At least, Paragon should have a Web site!
The president of Paragon, Janet Lauderdale, says the company “relies on referrals from previous clients and peers, rather than using mass marketing channels such as the Internet.”
Well, the referrals must be impressive, because the firm was awarded a $5.9 million contract last year. Those involved attempted to increase that bid by $6.9 million, the legislature stepped in and stopped it, pending closer scrutiny.
A lot of things smell about the Bob Riley administration. It's nice to see the Alabama press paying attention for a change.