Friday, May 5, 2017

Check out the IMS gravy train

IMS Engineers obtained a "project management" contract from the Jackson City Council in December 2015 to manage projects funded by the 1% sales tax.  The amount of the fee for the contract was $840,000.  The term was one year.  Mayor Tony Yarber's administration tried to renew the contract and increase the fee to $1.5 million but the Sales Tax Commission objected to the renewal.  JJ obtained copies of the invoices submitted by IMS and posted them below. They make for some interesting reading.

JJ submitted the first request last fall.  The second request was submitted three months ago.  The amount of information provided in the second request was much less than what was provided in the first one.  Some quick observations?

*Could someone explain what a "public consultant specialist" is?  We apparently paid over $4,000 for these services.

*The budgeted amounts in the first batch of invoices included:
$417,957 paid to IMS
$23,850 paid to Access Training.  Access Training is owned by Andria Jones.  She was indicted for Medicaid fraud. See p.241
$237,896 paid to TMM Hall.  However, that includes payments to one Johnny Crisler- the brother of Acting Chief Administrative Officer Marshand Crisler.  See p. 231
$16,050 to Advanced Environmental
$16,000 to Carolyn Hinton Dupre
$16,000 to Qsolutions
 $57,000 to Burns McDonald

The second batch of invoices stated that $32,000 was budgeted for public communications and outreach.    JJ would love to report what the subcontractors billed since November 1, 2016 but the records provided by the finance department did not included them.


Anonymous said...

When did the scam artists and shakedown jockeys start using engineering as their venue for government graft? Between these guys and Rudy's shenanigans in Madison, it's like the Corleone family is running Georgia Tech.

Anonymous said...

It's over for thIMS. Supreme Leader Lumumba can read Yarber's campaign finance report. They put all their chips on the wrong pony. Put a fork in em......

Anonymous said...

Obviously no one in Jackson to put a halt to this blatant robbery. Amazing.

Anonymous said...

Pretty simple 9:29-

People see engineering services and assume its necessary and not wasteful spending. These documents prove that the engineers are just the middle man for the crony gov't contracts so many people like to complain about, its just easier to hide them from the public eye. Just look who IMS subs all of their contracts out to and that will tell the whole story. Willing to bet that they weren't the lowest bids, nor the most qualified for the work they were contracted for. Typical.

Anonymous said...

From a 1% tax board member. "It costs roughly $175k to repave a mile of two loan road. It currently is costing Jackson over $800k to do one mile because of the middle men and Tony Yarber"

Anonymous said...

10:52, that is fucking unbelievable---if you know there is thievery going on then why not expose everything including names????????

Anonymous said...

I was happy when Yarber was elected and thought he would do great things.

I was very wrong.

I feel the opposite now that Lumumba is on track to be elected.

I hope my gut is wrong this time, too.

Anonymous said...

I hope JJ also closely looks at some of the majority-owned engineering firms as well in Jackson and the rest of the State. Start on S. Congress Street and move on from there. It's funny when minority-owned firms team with other firms to legitimately foster economic empowerment some folks always frame it as a scam or a robbery.

But when majority-owned firms prop up white women-owned firms and/or other highly recommended teaming partners to meet Federal SBE/DBE requirements and/or to meet political requests, it's framed as conducting business; give me a break. Nevertheless, this is Jackson and we're still dealing with the same ol' dog.

And, IMS demonstrated loyalty to Yarber even though he's become his own worst enemy. You never bet against an incumbent and loyalty is the strongest political currency you can have in politics. The new Mayor-elect will see this as well...

Kingfish said...

JJ has in the past. We've made RW mad a few times. We've taken some shots at Waggoner and Furr. IMS was in a high profile position.

Anonymous said...

TO: 12:11

Well written Dr. Calhoun---did you get help with the spelling ?

Anonymous said...

Well stated 12:11-notwithstanding the cynicism by 12:37 and some others.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Calhoun did not write 12:11...

I did, and I've been in this industry for a long time, and I've had a front row seat working for majority-owned firms winning Local, State, and Federal contracts.

What IMS is doing is no different than what I've seen majority-owned firms do to win government contracts. And like I said earlier, when minority-owned firms win work, some folks proclaim it's an illegal scam, but when white-owned firms win work the same folks proclaim they're conducting legitimate business.

Anonymous said...

12:11, Bulls**t. IMS admitted (or claimed when questioned) that they did not perform the 'mentoring' that was included in the bogus contract that Yarber handed to his contributors. The 'mentoring' was supposed to give a quarter million dollars to a full time employee of MDOT who has been an engineer for a dozen years. (Yarber also tried to give this same individual another quarter million on the AECOM contract he tried to steer to an out-of-state contributor, but the Council stopped.)

IMS has not propped up any 'white women-owned' firms. There is the one case of an Asian woman who gets a percentage of every contract issued under the Yarber administration, and IMS also gave a contract to a black woman for the public relations/Mayor reelect portion of their million dollar contract. But haven't seen any 'white women-owned' firms getting propped up by minority firms.

And what Federal requirements mandate any minority hiring that is not exceeded by the City's illegal EBO requirements? None, but that was a nice attempt to blame things on the feds, John. Just like you want to blame your failure to accomplish anything on anyone but your firm's work.

If your (IMS) contributions to Yarber were loyalty, not kickback, then why were there also some other candidates getting the benefit of your largess? Never mind, no need to answer that. Doesn't matter anymore.

Anonymous said...

Sure, 2:14. There's no coincidence at all that all of the subs in the IMS contract were ALSO minority and/or female owned. I'm sure those contracts were all legitimately won as you say.

And no, the race factor is not why I and others are calling foul. We are calling foul because race was a factor.

And the "buddy" contracts need to be called out regardless of race or gender has a dog in the fight. It happens everywhere. And deserves to get called out everywhere.

Anonymous said...

To: 2:14

I fully understand, most of the bad traits taken up by Blacks were introduced to them by Whitey.

Minority-owned and Majority-owned---why do you have to steal and bribe your way to success ?

Southern Glamor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

2:14, you miss the point. Its not whether IMS is a majority, or minority owned firm, or whether they willingly or are bribed/required to associate with other firms to obtain their contract.

In this case, IMS didn't do crap to justify their billing of more than three quarter million dollars. And their ridiculous 'presentation' asking for a second year renewal for a million and a half, with no justification or basis for their pricing. Just, that's how much they felt they could fleece out of the city, with a willing Mayor who wanted to give it to them.

This isn't black, white, or purple. This is about what they produced, or didn't, and what all they billed the city for. And it does consider the fact that IMS was not the highest rated firm when evaluated. Or the second highest rated. And now they want to blame everything on whitey; nothing is their fault for what hasn't been done even thought that is what they were supposed to be handling as a program "manager".

Anonymous said...

4:34 - I will be glad to shut up about "minority this" and "minority that" once the word "minority" is no longer used in deciding contract awards. We don't live in a day and age where people are judged by their ability, but often only by the color of their skin. Or at least, insuring that skin color is used as a part of the judgment/award.

Jackson's contracting has so much 'minority this' actually written into the documentations and evaluations. Once that is removed, I will shut up about "minority this". In the meantime, recognize reality.

Anonymous said...

Someone noted above that race is a factor in awarding City of Jackson's contracts, but they deliberately failed to mention that race is also a factor in awarding MDOT, State of Mississippi (facilities, IT, etc.), Keesler AFB, and other majority-controlled city/county government contracts. If JJ did an analysis on contract awards with these government entities, then they would find that extremely few contract awards/dollars go to firms of color when compared against the 100s of millions of dollars these government entities award in contracts every year.

There are numerous qualified firms of color in Mississippi and across the country that can do some of this work, but they win very little or nothing. So it appears race is a factor in these contract awards as well, but nobody is raising this irrefutable fact except me. So if we're going to shine a light on Jackson, then let's shine the light all across Mississippi. You see, some folks can't stand and/or don't want minority-owned businesses to become economically empowered and some folks don't mind other races growing financially. And, some of the comments on this thread speaks for itself. It's like I said earlier, we're still dealing with the same ol' dog...

Anonymous said...

5:34 - have you kept up with the Epps scandal? Dr. Reddix (minority) seemed to do well getting him hundred millions of dollars of contracts. Teresa Malone (woman) did well getting her contracts. Of the others under indictment, there are other minorities along with white contractors/companies.

The IT companies at DHS and several other agencies were minority owned. Do they count in your count?

Anonymous said...

It would be great to see a review of this topic in one year as far as Jackson's contracts. The incoming folks seem to be touting unity. Let's see how that goes....

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but doesn't the State and Federal government have some power to investigate and stop this sort of thing?

What happened to the investigative reporters with enough experience on city government and finances to know how government is supposed to work and who watch contracts?

Kudos KF but apparently those who follow you who could act, don't want to risk their boondoggles coming to light but only enjoy your stories when the propaganda value is favorable.

Anonymous said...

5:34 - I'm sure you're onto something. I've worked in state government for a while, and I've seen some pretty absurd contracts doled out to connected firms, most of them white owned. It is definitely a problem that crosses racial lines. However, I despise the implication in your comments that siphoning tax revenue via bogus government contracts is a legitimate way to "empower" a business. That's just graft. The thought that my 1% at the register in Jackson is used to "empower" a black engineering firm makes me want to vomit, and I would feel the same if the firm was white.

Anonymous said...

A couple of observations:

-A LOT of folks apparently don't read contracts before they sign them.

-Unless there's actual fraud involved, state/federal oversight is slim, and mostly only happens when the projects are funded through state/federal programs. At that point, the amount of regulation and actual oversight varies considerably. In some cases, the funding agency actually (supposedly) reviews the contracts prior to award/payment for them and the reviews (supposedly) the payments for compliance. But a lot of programs don't effectively prohibit silly charges, only fraudulent ones.

Anonymous said...

I would be surprised if IMS is "siphoning tax revenue via bogus government contracts" with the City and/or is engaged in "graft" as one person commented given their client list, awards, and business tenure, among other things. If this is the case then they should be judged by 12 and if they're not called to court, then it speaks for itself. Nevertheless, many folks that have commented above are rushing to judgment.

However, it appears they're definitely having some project delivery issues and they should have an opportunity to redeem themselves. I currently work for and have worked for other majority-owned firms. And guess what, majority-owned firms encounter project delivery issues with government clients all the time and some firms get 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and additional opportunities to redeem themselves.

Kingfish said...

Calhoun likes to play the race card in getting contracts and he likes to play the race card when his work or payments come under scrutiny.

The Northside Sun gave hell to Southern Consultants over the last year and Carl Ray and Joe Waggoner when they halfway controlled the levee board. This website pointed out how WRUA had to repay federal money after it gave illegal no bid work to engineers. The Northside Sun, JJ, and MCJ have all reported on Mr. Warnock, his billings, and his contracts over the years.

It wasn't Neal Shaffer or Waggoner who showed up at 1% STC meetings unprepared. It wasn't MEG who appeared at STC meetings and didn't have any information to present to the commission. IMS was questioned because it tried to double its fees just as Warnock was questioned over his fees and Southern Consultants was questioned over its work.

If Calhoun doesn't want public scrutiny, then he should shut up and not take public money.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned that, "Calhoun/IMS likes to play the race card in getting contracts..." It's a true fact the blacks folks play the race card and some blacks play it much more than others. However, they also deliberately failed to mentioned how white folks play their "race card" to maintain control of government agencies and award the vast majority of government contracts to white-owned engineering and construction firms.

So, let's shine the light on MDOT which controls aeronautics, highways, ports, public transit, and railroads. The State's Supreme Court (8-whites, 1-black) plays their race card to draw the district boundaries for MDOT's 3 member "elected" Board which is composed of 3-whites even though MDOT's organizational chart showcases the citizens of Mississippi at the top of the chart. Nevertheless, the composition of this Board clearly does not reflect the demographics of the State. The Board then plays their race card and "appoints" the Executive Director (white female)to run MDOT. The race card is played some more to construct majority-controlled selection committees to award the vast majority of MDOT's engineering & construction contracts to majority-owned firms.

Let's also shine the light on MSPA's 5-member "appointed" Board (4-whites, 1-black) where the Governor also plays the race card to appoint his 3 picks to maintain voting control at all times. The Board then plays the race card to hire MSPA's CEO & COO (2-whites) to run the agency, and government contracts are awarded in the same fashion as MDOT. The majority's race card is played even further because many of these projects receive Federal funding which have DBE/SBE participation requirements. This is where majority-owned firms prop up white female/"minority-owned family and friends" DBEs to meet the Federal participation requirements which severely limits firms owned by people of color's ability to win some of this work.

So, it's very disingenuous when some folks in this thread calls a flagrant foul on Calhoun/IMS for playing their "race card," but no one calls a flagrant foul on the whites for playing their race card to maintain control of government agencies and steer most of the contract awards to majority-owned firms...

Anonymous said...

10:54, the proof is in the pudding. If mdot were run like Jackson, we'd all be walking

Anonymous said...

Hey, you know what, the comment above was pretty good and hilarious...

It's extremely challenging to effectively deliver city services when there's a recurring series of story lines playing out in the news media that resembles a combination of a housewives reality show, law & order, and an adult film. Let's hope and pray that the next administration gets back to effectively delivering city services for the people. However, I know some of ya'll are not going to get your hopes up...

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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