New UIUC Conflict Scandal--George Gollin Does Nothing
#1
Another conflict of interest scandal at UIUC. What is George Gollin (George D. Gollin, George Dana Gollin) doing to stop this lawless conduct? Does UIUC have a Conflict of Interest Officer? Oh yeah, that's right, it's his domestic partner, Mel Loots--the same person who was cited by the FDA for selling mutant lab pigs to the public for food.

Maybe if George Gollin wasn't being sued over and over in federal court for stalking, extortion, defamation and civil rights violations he could spend more time sticking his big nose in his own business.

Quote:University of Illinois criticized after contract raises conflict of interest concerns
$4.6 million deal went to architectural firm partly owned by husband of key administrator for construction planning

[Image: 71040753.jpg]
The University of Illinois faces a dispute stemming from a contract awarded to renovate a dilapidated building. A state watchdog board says the school initially failed to alert it about a potential conflict of interest. (Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune / June 13, 2012)

By Ray Long and Jodi S. Cohen, Chicago Tribune reporters
July 13, 2012

The University of Illinois handed out a $4.6 million contract to an architectural firm partially owned by the husband of a key administrator who oversees the planning of campus construction projects.

The school initially did so without asking for the blessing of a state oversight board that is supposed to review public contracts with potential conflicts of interest. Now the watchdog panel wants the contract voided, with one member contending that the U. of I. is acting "above the law."

University officials say they have been operating within the law, but they acknowledged room for improvement. The contract is on hold as the Procurement Policy Board plans to revisit the issue Tuesday and Gov. Pat Quinn's administration is urging caution.

"This is a serious matter that should be carefully reviewed now and going forward," Brooke Anderson, Quinn's spokeswoman, said Thursday.

The case illustrates the type of cozy relationship that the state wanted to be sure got an extra layer of scrutiny as part of reforms following the impeachment of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The idea is to improve transparency in how contracts are awarded.

The project in question involves renovations to the Urbana-Champaign campus's Natural History Building, where geology, biology and other classes are taught. The 120-year-old building is in such disrepair that half of it is closed, and the university considers it one of the campus's "most critical priorities."

The university gave the architectural design contract to BLDD Architects, a central Illinois firm where Bruce Maxey is a principal who owns 8.9 percent of the company, records show. His wife, Jill Maxey, previously worked at BLDD and is now U. of I.'s associate director of planning. In that position, she works on the initial stages of construction projects. That includes helping draft the scope of the work, coordinating the vendor selection process and helping determine budgets.

Bruce Maxey's firm won the initial contract over 33 others in 2010. BLDD scored just barely above the next two closest competitors, and the university agreed to pay the company $368,000 for the renovation plans. Satisfied with the plans and having secured funding, the university's board of trustees awarded BLDD an additional $4.3 million last December to continue working on the $70 million project.

In a post-Blagojevich world, contracts with potential conflicts of interest are required to go before the five-member procurement board appointed by Quinn and the four legislative leaders.

The oversight board didn't learn about the potential conflict until March — more than a year after the first contract was awarded and months after trustees approved an expansion of the deal. Procurement board members found out the university had bypassed them when the state's chief procurement officer for higher education, Ben Bagby, asked them to waive any potential conflict of interest issues for the upcoming work.

The procurement panel was not on board with that, however. In April, the oversight panel voted 4-0 to recommend the contract expansion be voided because of concerns about conflicts.

"I did not think there was enough transparency so that I could look anybody in the eye and say, 'There's no way … that this woman was involved in that project," said Bill Black, a procurement board member and former Republican state representative from Danville. "You've got to put it out there where reporters and other individuals can look at it and say, 'Ah, that was a fair process.'"

Ed Bedore, the board's senior member appointed by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan of Chicago, suggested that the university is acting like it is "above the law."

The procurement panel's thinking was summed up in a letter written by its executive director, Aaron Carter, after the board's vote. "Even the perception of such a conflict of interest can create such a level of distrust with an individual, agency or university that it becomes just as damning to the process as an actual conflict of interest," Carter wrote.

The decision against the U. of I. represents a rare instance when the procurement board voted to recommend voiding a contract. Of the 678 potential conflicts reviewed in the past two years from agencies and universities across the state, the board has voted only three times to void contracts, a board official said. Two of them involved the U. of I.'s partnership with BLDD.

The procurement board's decisions are only advisory, however. Last month, Bagby determined he would disregard the board's recommendation and allow the contract to go forward. He agreed with the university's argument that it would be too costly to change course and pay another company to get up to speed. He also said there was no evidence that anyone acted improperly.

Though they can proceed, university officials indicated Thursday that they probably will wait until the procurement board discusses the issue again Tuesday.

"We will wait until we see the outcome of the meeting and any issues that may arise," said Mike Bass, a U. of I. senior associate vice president in the office of business and financial services. Bass also said he anticipates trustees will discuss the issue at their board meeting next week.

Jill Maxey did not return a call for comment, and university officials responded to questions in writing. University officials said they thought they had procedures in place to avoid a conflict of interest and did not realize they needed to send the contract to the procurement board under the state's new rules. Both the university and BLDD had disclosed the Maxeys' relationship as required, records show.

In addition, the university said it devised an internal "firewall" to keep Jill Maxey out of decisions involving the contract or her husband's company.

But during a May public hearing triggered by the procurement board's recommendation to void the contract, Jill Maxey's supervisor acknowledged that it was an informal wall, and there were "a few slips," according to a transcript. For example, Jill Maxey was copied on emails discussing the project's scope of work as BLDD's proposal was pending, the transcript said.

While Jill Maxey said she did not participate in the selection process, she appointed her subordinate, Tony Battaglia, to the committee. Battaglia had his own potential conflicts: He plays in a band with BLDD employees and his brother-in-law works at the firm.

Battaglia testified that he participated in narrowing the bidders to four but then "recused" himself from working on the final scores because of the associations.

Jill and Bruce Maxey testified that they did not discuss the project while BLDD's proposal was pending.

"Actually, it is going to be hard to believe," Jill Maxey testified, "but we don't talk a lot about the specific projects that Bruce works on because we know that this is a potential situation, and so we actually make a conscious effort to refrain from doing so."

Bagby, along with the deputy general counsel for the state's Executive Ethics Commission, ruled that the U. of I.'s "firewall" was too lax, but neither thought the contract should be killed.

In an interview with the Tribune, Bagby acknowledged that the BLDD contract is "not the best-looking one" but said the U. of I. acted aboveboard.

"You have a situation where the university knew of the potential conflict, it was disclosed, people in the office knew about it, and Jill is not in the decision tree," Bagby said. Going forward, he said, the university should have "a process in place that deals with this better than what was there before."

The two Chicago firms who had the second- and third-highest scores during the selection process both agreed to continue what BLDD started with little or no delays, records show. One declined to comment and the other did not return calls.

Randy West, a vice president at BLDD, said it would "absolutely not" be fair to void the contract. He said the company has worked on U. of I. projects for the past 30 years and has no plans to stop competing for work there. Both he and Bruce Maxey are working on the Natural History Building project.

"We adhere to all requirements and are transparent about any potential conflicts of interest that may arise because we have too much respect for the state and the university to do it any other way," West said.

While the procurement board members plan to discuss the contract at their meeting Tuesday, Bagby said it's time to move on. The university is aiming to complete the project by September 2013.

"You take a situation and you learn from it. Hopefully these things won't have reoccurrence so things can be looked at early on and ahead of the game," Bagby said. "We need to move forward."
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#2
Hmmmm...this is getting kind of repetitive. What is it exactly that the UIUC Conflict of Interest Officer Melanie Loots is teaching her minions?

[Image: LootsConflict01.jpg]
[Image: LootsConflict02.jpg]
www.research.illinois.edu/coi/BMGconflictupdateSept2011.ppt

WTF? CARRY ON?!? Well I guess that explains it. The object of her labor apparently is not to actually stem the tide of corruption that permeates the University of Illinois diploma mill, but rather to facilitate her administrative empire building.

Quote:If you have questions about the regulation or the University’s Policy on Conflicts of Commitment and Interest, or suggestions regarding the implementation of the HHS regulation, please contact Melanie Loots, mloots@illinois.edu, 333-0034.

[Image: MelanieLootsConflictOfInterest.jpg]
Melanie Loots
Conflict of Interest
mloots@illinois.edu
333-0034
http://research.illinois.edu/coi/PHS_Dis...ations.asp
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#3
Not to derail your thread, but isn't the statue in that UIUC photo the same one that Gollin's douchenozzle nephew uses on his facebook page? Or is that statue just standard issue for every fly-infested midwest backwater college?

[Image: 71040753.jpg]

[Image: 459184_1942793785616_132570499_o.jpg]
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#4
(07-14-2012, 01:14 PM)Martin Eisenstadt Wrote: Not to derail your thread, but isn't the statue in that UIUC photo the same one that Gollin's douchenozzle nephew uses on his facebook page?

Considering that it contains a quote from the (gasp!) Bible, I'm surprised they haven't torn it out, melted it down, and sold it for scrap, then used the money to fund Gollin's federal lawsuit defense.

I doubt that young Mr. Douchenozzle bothered to read the words on the statue while he was defacing it with his presence.

Quote:"Her children arise up and call her Blessed" Proverbs 31-28

What are the odds that quote will still be there when they get through "restoring" the monstrosity? Sounds just a little too pro-motherhood for the lefties and lesbos.

Speaking of whom, considering how the UIUC diploma mill reeks of conflict of interest, how can they justify continuing the farce of having a purported "Conflict of Interest Officer" who obviously is just using the position as a resume enhancer and not actually doing anything useful to prevent it? In a sewer of corruption like that you could have ten full-timers and still not make a dent.

Looks like the insiders wanted to insure they could continue their game unencumbered by any sort of meaningful scrutiny. They appointed the most oblivious person they could find, figuring (correctly, as it turns out) she would be the least likely to stop them. Once they saw the "KEEP CALM & CARRY ON" poster they must have known they had found their ideal Sgt. Schultz. The latest scandal got all the way to Springfield before anyone noticed.

[Image: MelanieLootsConflictOfInterest02.jpg]
Melanie Loots
Conflict of Interest Officer
"I see nothing!"
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#5
Where is the U of I Conflict of Interest Officer? Is she too busy selling mutant lab pigs for food to catch another violation of state conflict-of-interest laws? Where is super sleuth G-Man George Gollin? Is he still Dreaming of One-Eyed Serpents and self-aggrandizement? Apparently he's not the only one at "Above the Law University" who thinks the rules don't apply to the eggheads of the self-appointed ruling class.

Quote:Panel again votes to void U. of I. contract over conflict of interest
By Jodi S. Cohen and Ray Long, Chicago Tribune reporters
7:01 a.m. CDT, July 18, 2012

A state oversight board has skewered the University of Illinois and recommended voiding an architectural contract for violating state conflict-of-interest laws, a move that sends the matter to the state's top inspector general for further investigation.

The Procurement Policy Board's 4-0 vote Tuesday is only advisory, and now it's up to the U. of I. board of trustees to decide how to proceed. It's likely to be a troubling situation for trustees, who have touted the importance of ethics and reform after several high-profile scandals. The board heads into a two-day meeting Wednesday.

At issue is a $4.6 million contract to renovate the Urbana-Champaign campus's 120-year-old Natural History Building, a project awarded to an architectural firm partially owned by the husband of a key U. of I. administrator who oversees campus planning.

The central Illinois firm, BLDD Architects, completed the design phase of the project and is now set to begin working on the larger, more expensive construction phase. The procurement board is upset because it learned of the contract just months ago even though a new state law intended to improve transparency in how contracts are awarded requires the group to review public contracts with potential conflicts of interest.

The conflict stems from a relationship between a principal at BLDD, Bruce Maxey, and his wife, Jill, who is the U. of I.'s associate director of planning. In that position, she works on the initial stages of construction projects, a role that includes helping draft the scope of work and coordinating the vendor selection process.

Bruce Maxey's firm won the initial contract over 33 others in 2010. It was paid $368,000 for the design plans and was set to get another $4.3 million to continue working on the $70 million project. Bruce Maxey has an 8.9 percent ownership share in the company.

The procurement panel first voted in April to recommend that the contract be voided because of conflict-of-interest concerns, but its decision was overridden by Ben Bagby, the state's chief procurement officer for higher education.

On Tuesday the state board voted again to recommend voiding the contract, this time alleging that the university did not follow state law when it failed to alert Bagby, who in turn could not notify the procurement panel. University officials have said they did not think the contract needed to be forwarded to the board because the university and BLDD had disclosed the relationship as required and had an internal "firewall" intended to block Jill Maxey from participating in decisions about her husband's company.

The latest action represented the first time the procurement board has voted to void a contract based on a violation of state law, which triggers an executive inspector general investigation. That office could refer the matter to state or federal prosecutors or recommend that state or university workers be fired, suspended or fined.

Procurement board member Ed Bedore criticized the U. of I. for not bringing the contract to the board's attention in 2010, calling the campus the "ABL" or "Above the Law" university.

"I just hope the university does a better job with their law students than they do with their attorneys in their office," Bedore said. "I would hope that the U. of I. would take this back, or the board of trustees would open the windows and raise the blinds and shed some light on this."

Bagby defended his decision to override the board's April vote. "I didn't find any wrongdoing," he said. "I don't think the university acted in bad faith, and it would have been costly."

But Bedore criticized the assertion by Bagby and the university that it could cost upward of $1 million and cause months of delays to switch architectural firms.

"I have one word for that: 'Hogwash,'" said Bedore, who criticized Bagby for not asking the other firms for cost estimates before saying it would be too expensive. "You base your findings on something that was presented to you by the great U. of I. that was incorrect. ... I believe you and the U. of I. misled everybody."

The building project is in a holding pattern until Bagby issues another ruling and the board decides how to proceed. Trustees could decide to rebid the entire project, but it would be difficult to go forward with one of the original bidders because the contract had been negotiated only with BLDD, said Mike Bass, the university's senior associate vice president in the Office of Business and Financial Services.

"We need to discuss it with the board," Bass said. "We will come to a conclusion then."

The two firms that had the second- and third-highest scores during the selection process both agreed to continue what BLDD started with little or no delays, records show.

"I would like to think we could do something with those two firms that were so closely ranked that would avoid a complete and total rebid," said procurement board member Bill Black, a former Republican state representative from Danville. "I don't want to see this project delayed nine, 10 months, and I don't think we have to."

Randy West, a vice president at BLDD, said the firm is "obviously disappointed and by no means intended for the university to have to go through this" and will abide by the process.

An official with the firm that came in second place, Chicago-based BauerLatoza, said Tuesday she is glad the contract is getting another look. The firm fell a fraction of a percentage point below BLDD when 34 companies submitted bids in 2010. It told the procurement board that it would take two weeks and no additional costs to get caught up to speed with BLDD's design plans.
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#6
I see that hapless Chancellor University is back on show cause with their accreditor. Among the NCACS' stated problems is:

Quote:The areas of concern identified by the Board are summarized below and are detailed in the action letter to the University.

The Board expressed concerns related to:

• Criterion One, “the institution operates with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff and students.” In particular, the Board expressed concerns related to Core Component 1.e, “the institution upholds and protects its integrity,” because of issues related to conflict of interest; ...
www.ncahlc.org/download/_PublicDisclosureNotices/PDN_1837.pdf

The University of Illinois has a major, nationally notorious conflict of interest scandal every few weeks. Why aren't they on show cause?
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#7
Another major FAIL for the Gollum Klan. What they need is an internal firewall to limit Gollums to participating only to things they actually know something about--like camel rides, chocolate vaginas, "dirty Papists," obscene blogs and father/daughter singalongs of the SMDFMA song.

Who cares if it's costly to taxpayers? It's a drop in the bucket compared to the legal fees generated by Gollum's federal court civil rights/extortion/defamation/stalking defense team.

Quote:U. of I. board kills controversial contract
By Jodi S. Cohen and Ray Long, Chicago Tribune reporters
July 20, 2012

Under pressure from a state oversight panel, the University of Illinois board of trustees on Thursday killed a contentious, multimillion-dollar contract that had raised conflict-of-interest concerns.

"It was a short discussion," board Chairman Christopher Kennedy said after the trustees met in closed session to discuss the employment-related matter. "We don't want any more ethical issues associated with the university. We get public money and we have to hold ourselves to a higher standard."

The university now plans to rebid the contract for architectural work related to renovating the 120-year-old Natural History Building on the Urbana-Champaign campus, said Mike Bass, the university's senior associate vice president for building and financial services. The rebidding may delay the project and add to its cost, Bass said.

The Tribune first reported last week that the university had awarded a $4.6 million contract to an architectural firm partially owned by the husband of a key university official who oversees campus construction planning. Jill Maxey, who until this week was the university's associate director of planning, is married to Bruce Maxey, a principal in the firm BLDD Architects and owner of 8.9 percent of the company.

The university had failed to alert proper officials about the potential conflict of interest, as required by state law, when the first part of the contract, for conceptual design plans, was awarded in 2010. The state's Procurement Policy Board, for example, learned of the contract only this past spring, when the university was set to award the larger construction part of the contract to BLDD.

The procurement board voted in April and again Tuesday to recommend that the university void the contract. U. of I. trustees had approved it in December.

"Once we got (direction) from a state agency, there was no longer any confusion," Kennedy said.

University administrators said Thursday they will not continue the work with one of the other original high-scoring bidders, as some procurement board members had proposed, and instead will rebid the construction phase of the project. BLDD already has been paid $368,000 for the initial plans.

"It's the cleanest way to do it, most open," Bass said. "We will start moving on that as quickly as we can."

BLDD could bid again for the work, and Bass said university staff is still discussing what will happen if it does. He said Jill Maxey has been reassigned and her job duties no longer include procurement tasks such as vendor selection.

In reaction to the U. of I.'s decision, Randy West, a BLDD principal, said the company had followed all state conflict disclosure laws. He did not respond to a question about whether the firm will rebid on the project.

"While we are saddened by today's decision, we are gratified that all involved agree that BLDD made all required disclosures, showing its strong commitment to transparency throughout the process," he said.

Bill Latoza, a principal with the architectural firm BauerLatoza Studio, which scored second-highest during the original bidding process, said he was disappointed that the university will rebid the project instead of awarding it to his firm. There were 34 bidders for the initial contract. BauerLatoza scored less than a percentage point behind BLDD.

"We believe the rebidding is unnecessary and costly to the taxpayers. We are all losing on this decision," said Latoza, who said it would take two weeks and no additional expense for his firm to get up to speed.

Ed Bedore, the senior member of the procurement board, said the U. of I. contracting issue was the "first real test" of the July 2010 law intended to add transparency to how contracts are awarded.

"It worked," Bedore said Thursday. "When daylight was put on this contract, the statute worked."

Bedore said he was pleased the trustees voided the contract but that the university was "making a mistake by not awarding to the second or third bidders." The university's decision to rebid now will add time and costs to the project that all "could have been avoided had they followed the law in December 2010."

University officials initially said they did not believe the contract needed to be forwarded to the board because the university and BLDD had disclosed the relationship as required and had an internal "firewall" intended to block Jill Maxey from participating in decisions about her husband's company.
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