Friday, March 25, 2011

More Silas Potter Connections

Publicola did some digging and found that the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) had a contract with the Urban League (who also had contracts with SPS).    From the article:

In response to a public disclosure request, WSDOT revealed that it has contracted out support for disadvantaged and minority businesses through the Regional Small Business Development Program (RSBDP), the Seattle Public Schools division headed up by program manager Silas Potter, the man in charge of the SPS program at the center of the $1.8 million scandal, as first reported by the Seattle Times.

According to quarterly and annual reports on WSDOT’s Support Services for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs), Potter’s RSBDP offered business competitiveness courses to companies with the goal of helping them bid more successfully for WSDOT contracts.


The low level of DBE attendance and the lack of any growth in enrollment at RSBDP classes suggests a similar pattern to that described in the state auditors report on the SPS program.

Interesting:
An odd footnote: While Nnambi told us for our original story that WSDOT was happy with the Urban League’s work because the “program has provided assistance to a number of businesses that have gotten WSDOT contracts,” a look through email correspondence between WSDOT and the Urban League found that WSDOT contacted the Urban League and requested a list of the DBEs served through the Urban League’s Pathways Program one day after our story ran.

2 comments:

Karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Truthout said...

You need to focus on the Urban League. The League was receiving $500,000 per year from the City of Seattle as well as WASDOT and Seattle Public Schools funding. Several 100 thousand dollars in Monorail money was given to the Urban League to develop the infamous "data base" that the School District was supposed to have spent $25,000 to access. Where is the money or the results of the spending? The minority businesses did not benefit from this - ask them. Ask the Urban League to produce evidence of results. The public entities contracted in good faith looking for a way to help these small businesses compete on public works, the minority businesses came hoping to increase their capacity and build strong businesses and all they got was lip services. A lot of money flowed through the Urban League intended to assist these businesses. Follow the money folks.