Monday, May 14, 2007

Bill White Casts Public Spotlight on Possible "Pay to Play" Scheme at BHA

Nearly a month ago, I told you about the latest shenanigans at Bethlehem's Housing Authority (BHA). It plans on rejecting the advice of a $35,000 consultant to select a politically-connected energy savings contractor. BHA member Joe Long just happens to chair the local Dems.

The Morning Call's Bill White has published an excellent two-part exposé, shedding light on what increasingly appears to be a "pay to play" scheme.

A frustrated Larry Kisslinger, who had resigned from BHA a few months earlier, had this to say to Bethlehem Mayor John Callahan. "Bible says: the more you know, the more you worry ... and ... I worry a lot for you and BHA! Go figure!"

Today, at 4 PM, the BHA made its decision. Did it go with the outfit recommended by its own consultant? Or did it pick the Democratic campaign contributor?
Update: The Express Times reports the Bethlehem Housing Authority, in a 3-2 vote, went with Ameresco, the outfit recommended by its own consultant. Happy ending for good government. Lousy ending for Boss Long.
Update 2: The Morning Call also has a well-written account of the 4 PM meeting.


Anonymous said...

Bernie, The Morning Call also has an article. I am glad to see that doing the right thing runs in the Samuelson family. It seems George is in the same mold as his brother Steve.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 9:18,

Thanks. I'll note the MC link.

Larry Kisslinger said...

Do dumb and dumber on BHA as Commissioners think people are as stupid as they are, or what? Plain as the nose on anybody's face, including mine and Bernie's!
Dumb and dumber went "in the tank" for very political reasons. It's not the first time and won't be the last as long (no pun intended) as dumb and dumber remain in their positions. Congrats to Commissioners Reitmeir, Samuelson and Linares for doing the right thing while accepting paid consultant and staff's final decision with the energy saving contract for Bha and taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

Bernie - you and Kisslinger are so blinded by your personal vendettas to Long and Sanders that you can’t even see what has happened here. Believe it or not, Sanders and Long were actually looking out for the Authority! I was at the public meeting, the CLT proposal was something like $450,000 lower than the other companies! Why did a resident commissioner support a company from Mass.? Why did staff switch their recommendation from CLT to the other company? Why did the consultant not point out that CLT was that much lower in cost? Eventually the right questions will be asked here…but by whom?

Bernie O'Hare said...

Anon 3:47,

If I have some personal animosity for Boss Long, he's earned it, and over the course of a few years. But I've never dealt with Sanders. My view there is fairly neutral.

As I understand things, these matters are not so simple as you make them sound. That's why the BHA spent $30k to hire a consultant who told them not to go w/ CLT. That eventually became the staff position.

When I first posted abouty this, someone came on my blog to tell me there was much more to the story. I asked him to reveal the facts. A month went by, and there was nothing.

Now I'm hearing the same thing again. The bottom line is that CLT is a big Dem donor and that's why Long wanted to use them. Sanders was caught lying about the mayor of Bethlehem by Bill White. And now we're supposed to believe the word of a proven liar over a consultant who was paid $30k to come up w/ a recommendation? I don't think so.