Posts tagged: Sharon Ullman
Ada County commissioners are seeking the return of $2 million from Dynamis, a company the county hired to design a waste-to-energy plant that's now the subject of a lawsuit, an investigation by a former FBI agent and opposition from residents. Click below for a full report from the Associated Press and the Idaho Statesman; the three-member county commission voted unanimously Wednesday to ask for the money back. Dynamis Energy LLC is planning a garbage-to-energy plant at the Ada County. Last week, however, a citizens group sued the county, claiming the $2 million the county paid to Dynamis amounts to a loan and the county is forbidden to loan money to businesses. What's more, a retired FBI agent, Verna Kessler, is investigating a complaint over alleged irregularities in a contract between local government officials and Dynamis.
Remarkable revelations over the weekend on the stalled Dynamis trash-to-energy project in Ada County from Idaho Statesman investigative reporter Cynthia Sewell, including that the $2 million Ada County paid to the firm planning the project went in part to buy new Mac computers and software for the firm; to pay $350 an hour to the firm's staffers for engineering services, far above the going rate; to pay $71,605 to Boise consulting firm GSA Services for helping the developer win government contracts; and included a 10 percent markup for “overhead and profit” of $180,000.
The county expects to be repaid the money, but Sewell reports that a Maryland lender has filed claims on all of Dynamis' assets - putting it ahead of the county for payoff if Dynamis fails to perform. You can read Sewell's report here.
The controversy over a proposed $75 million garbage-to-energy plant at the Ada County landfill has blown up into a full-scale brouhaha, with citizens petitioning for a public hearing that county commissioners refuse; a retired FBI investigator hired by the county sheriff's department to look into allegations of criminal misconduct surrounding the contract; two of the three commissioners rebuffing public records requests and citizen requests to address the issue; and the county engineer, the state Department of Environmental Quality, and the city of Meridian all calling for further review of the project. Proposed by Dynamis, the plant would use experimental technology and would be the company's first. Idaho Statesman reporter Cynthia Sewell has been tracking the controversy; you can read her full report here on the latest developments, and the Statesman's editorial on the issue here.
Sewell reported that the lone dissenting county commissioner, Dave Case - who defeated Commissioner Sharon Ullman in the primary and then was appointed to fill out the remaining term of former Commissioner Vern Bisterfeldt - spoke publicly yesterday about his concerns over Ullman's and Commissioner Rick Yzaguirre's handling of the project. “This is not about politics,” Case said. “This is about honoring and serving the people of Ada County and protecting their health and their safety. I cannot idly sit by and see all this stuff going on behind closed doors. It makes me an accessory and I will not be an accessory to their dealings.”