INGATE

From The Sip Trunking Experts

[March 12, 2006]

GOP foes both did no-bid deals: Blackwell denied it, but he takes money he rips Petro for taking

(Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) Mar. 12--Despite one-sided charges, both Republican candidates for governor have taken campaign cash from those they awarded no-bid state contracts, records show.

J. Kenneth Blackwell has criticized rival Jim Petro repeatedly in recent weeks for using lawyers who received unbid specialcounsel work from the attorney general's office as a "fundraising ATM."

But a Dispatch analysis shows Blackwell has taken thousands of dollars in contributions over time from vendors who got no-bid work from the secretary of state's office under his control.

After saying Feb. 20 that he didn't take such contributions, Blackwell said Friday they are "nominal" and pale in comparison to Petro's -- and that he hasn't used the "strong-arm tactics" he accuses Petro of employing.


Blackwell also said he would return all of his contributions from vendors who got unbid work if Petro did the same, but a Petro spokesman said Blackwell is trying to avoid being labeled a hypocrite.

"His offer doesn't change the facts: Ken Blackwell still says one thing and does another," said Bob Paduchik, Petro's campaign manager.

Blackwell has accused Petro of using heavyhanded tactics to get $1.6 million in contributions from lawyers or their associates who receive unbid work from the special-counsel program that Petro runs.

The FBI reportedly has made inquiries into allegations that Petro threatened to cut specialcounsel work unless contributions were made. Petro denies that happened and blames a vendetta by a Summit County political enemy for the accusations.

"I have not had an aggressive campaign- fundraising scheme that made getting the business and keeping the business through unbid contracts conditioned upon a campaign contribution," Blackwell said, adding that he thinks unbid contracts should be "the exception rather than the rule."

In fact, when asked Feb. 20 about his fundraising, Blackwell said, "I have not received any money from anybody who has an unbid contract.

"Now, I will give every dollar that I have received from an unbid contract back tomorrow, if (Petro) will give it back," Blackwell said. "I will give it back tomorrow even if he doesn't give it back, because I haven't received any."

Blackwell modified his statement two days later in a published report by saying he has taken contributions from people doing work with his office but that he received it "without arm-twisting."

A review of Blackwell's campaign-finance reports and the personal-services contracts or other unbid work from the secretary of state's office since 2002 shows Blackwell has taken at least $38,000 from those vendors.

For example, Blackwell has awarded no-bid personal-services contracts to Bostonbased Keane Inc. for computer-related work and has taken $6,300 from company officials and their spouses in Ohio since 1999.

Blackwell also has gotten at least $35,000 from vendors who have state contracts that, although not competitively bid, are negotiated by the Department of Administrative Services.

Besides those contributions, Blackwell has accepted more than $23,000 from specialcounsel lawyers representing his office and thousands more from other members of their firms through the years.

In all, Blackwell has requested 30 special-counsel assignments from 12 lawyers who have billed the state $832,152 since 1999, records show.

But Blackwell insists he doesn't control those appointments because the attorney general has the power to hire and fire them, and because some of his requests for specific lawyers have been rejected.

Even so, Blackwell also has awarded unbid contracts to individuals who now are part of his campaign.

Blackwell gave contracts worth up to $99,000 to Gene Pierce for work in 2004 and 2005 serving as project manager for federally funded votereducation campaigns, and Pierce now is Blackwell's campaign spokesman.

Norm Cummings, a campaign consultant, received a $45,000 contract in 2001 to consult on the state reapportionment process, and Blackwell also has given state work to Michael Hernon, who now is his campaign manager.

Blackwell defended the moves, saying all three "got paid for the value they brought the state."

Blackwell spokesman Carlo LoParo also said Hernon was considered an employee of the office and that James Nathanson, now a Petro campaign consultant, was a subcontractor for Cummings on his contract.

Critics have complained that the voter-education campaign Pierce managed -- which featured Blackwell prominently in television and print ads -- gave Blackwell free publicity in advance of his run for governor.

Blackwell paid the New York public-relations firm Burson-Marsteller nearly $2.5 million for the campaign from the $138 million in federal and state Help America Vote Act funds he controls.

It is the second-largest expenditure of such money so far behind new voting machines, records show.

When asked about such criticism, Blackwell replied: "Hogwash. I think that sums it up."

mniquette@dispatch.com

[ Back To SIP Trunking Home's Homepage ]

Loading
Subscribe here for your FREE
SIP TRUNKING enewslettter.

Featured Partner


Featured Whitepapers

SIP Security for the Enterprise
Voice over IP (VoIP) is incorporated into a variety of computer networks, both public and private, and used for everyday transactions and communications among carriers, businesses, government agencies...

Making A Broadband Purchase Decision
Businesses today have many options for broadband connectivity. Clarifying your particular business needs prior to selecting a broadband provider will ensure an optimal match of broadband service to your requirements.

Voice-Optimized Network Delivers Premier Call Experience
Customers equate call quality with business quality. Real-time communication, interpersonal interaction, and the cordial tone of a call center representative can create a positive impression of your business that no email can match.

Featured Case Studies

Business Telecom Expenses Reduced 50%
A small to medium sized company in the midwest was interested in migrating to IP Communications, but in today's economy, they were hesitant to upgrade their communication system due to their perception that the cost would outweigh the benefits.

Multi-State Company Cuts Telecom Costs 50%
A multi-site, multi-state company with extensive monthly long distance fees and toll-free charges did not have adequate broadband for Broadvox SIP Trunking requirements, nor did they have a SIP enabled telephone system.

Discover Leisure Connects Remote Users to its IP-PBX
Discover Leisure is one of the largest resellers of caravans and motor homes in the UK. With 15 branch of?ces all over the country, the company spent a great deal of money every month just on internal phone calls.

Featured eBOOKS

Internet+: The Way Toward Global Unified Communication
Connecting the telephony of the enterprise PBX or Unified Communications (UC) system using SIP trunks instead of conventional telephone lines has been very successful in recent years.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 2
SIP trunking is becoming more of a focus for service providers. One key issue many service providers face when deploying SIP trunks is NAT, or Network Address Translation, traversal.

What is SIP Trunking? Edition 1
A vast resource for information about all things SIP - including SIP, security, VoIP, SIP trunking and Unified Communications.

Featured Videos

Broadvox VAR Testimonial VAR 1:
Part 1 of the VAR (Value Added Reseller) Partner Program Testimonials for Broadvox...

E-SBCs AS The Demarcation Point:
Ingate's Steve Johnson talks to Erik Linask about the role session border controller plays as the demarcation point at...

Demystifying DPI
How can deep packet inspection protect your SIP traffic as well as your entire network?

Featured Resources

Partner Program Overview:
Over 4,000 VARs, Master Agents, Solution Providers, and Independent IT Professionals trust Broadvox. We offer customized services and solutions to fit seamlessly into any company's business model. And when you partner with Broadvox, every member of our team stands behind you and your customers 100%...

SIP Trunk UC Summit

What's New

Presenting the New Ingate/Intertex Website:
Internet+ is an extended Internet access allowing high quality SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) based real-time person-to-person communication, everywhere and for any application. It applies to both fixed and mobile networks ...

Featured Blogs

Featured Webinars

Secure SIP Trunking:
What You Need to Know

Successfully Deploying Enterprise SIP Trunking:
Tools and Techniques for Overcoming Common Roadblocks

Featured Podcasts

Getting the Most Out of Your SIP Trunks:
Ingate's Steve Johnson and TMC's Erik Linask discuss how best practices forgetting the most out of SIP Trunking services and common pitfalls to avoid.

Featured Datasheets

Ingate SIParator E-SBCs
Adopting SIP is a simple process with the Ingate SIParator, the secure enterprise session border controller (E-SBC). The SIParator makes secure SIP communications - including VoIP,SIP trunking and more - possible while working seamlessly with your existing network firewall.

Ingate Firewalls
Everyone is talking about enterprise usage of VoIP, instant messaging and other types of realtime communications including presence and conferencing.

SIP Trunk Solutions for Service Providers
The award-winning Ingate Firewall and Ingate SIParator deliver a high quality, reliable SIP trunk connection between the customer's IP-PBX and the service provider network, and solve interoperability issues to simplify deployments and support for remote diagnosis of reported issues.