WHEN TRYING TO SOLVE A CRIME OR EXPOSE A COVER UP, FOLLOW THE MONEY
TriData must have thought it hit the jackpot when it got the Virginia Tech contract. Take a look at the hourly rates the state was willing to pay the company. The figures are taken from an August 17, 2009 letter from Mark E. Rubin, Counselor for the Governor to Philip Schaeman, President of Tridata. When you look at the letter you see that the name Philip Schaeman is crossed out and “Phil” is written in by hand—implying a degree of familiarity between Rubin and Schaeman. The seriousness of the issue at hand and the magnitude of the crime, coupled with the fact that hundreds of thousands of taxpayers’ dollars were being spent, dictated professional correspondence—not casualness. Here is the pay scale:
“TriData’s fee . . . will be based upon the applicable standard government hourly rates for TriData personnel performing the services as follows:
- Corporate Program Director $230.00
- Deputy Program Director $150.00
- Senior Program Specialist $ 86.00
- Program Specialist $ 55.00
- Intern $ 40.00
- Senior Communications & Media Specialist $125.00
- Senior Public Safety specialist $137.00
- Public Safety Specialist $ 80.00
- Senior Specialty Consultant $323.00”
It is a generally accepted legal principle that when money exchanges hands in a business relationship, the person or organization receiving the money owes primary allegiance to the person or organization paying the money. Indeed, the original letter to TriData, dated April 26, 2007, cited the company’s past working relationship with the chairman of the panel, Col. Gerald Massengill, as reason for hiring TriData.
The breakdown of expenses paid to TriData is troubling. For example, what is a “Senior Communications & Media Specialist?’ Isn’t that a public relations officer? Why did TriData need to pay a public relations person $125.00 an hour and only pay a “Public Safety Specialist” $80.00 an hour? The report is all about public safety on our campuses, yet TriData and the state of Virginia apparently were willing to spend more on a spin-doctor than on a safety expert.
The letter lists a total of nine categories of TriData officers who will be involved in the report. The rate of pay is highly questionable. For example, the Corporate Program Director was being paid $230.00 an hour. Why was someone called a “Senior Specialty Consultant” being paid $323.00 and just what is a “Senior Specialty Consultant?” Did the state agree to such a pay scale without asking for an explanation of who was getting this money and what specifically he or she would do to earn the money?
You have to ask yourself, was the State of Virginia and Virginia Tech buying the report and conclusions they wanted? (To be continued)