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Company that Employs Commissioner Miller’s Brother-In Law Received $393,000 in City Contracts

Posted on June 28, 2017

Company that Employs Commissioner Miller’s Brother-In Law Received $393,000 in City Contracts

Tallahassee Reports has learned a company that employs Rich Buss, the brother-in law of City Commissioner Nancy Miller, has been paid $393,000 over the last three years by a city department that employees commissioner Miller’s husband and Rich Buss’s brother, John Buss.

The majority of the money was for a stormwater project in the Market District near Maclay Commerce Road in the northeast part of town.

The web of connections between Commissioner Miller, the Buss family, and the City of Tallahassee raises questions about insider dealings.

In 2011, the City Commission adopted the “Market District Action Plan” with a vision of fostering a unique ‘sense of place’ in the Market District area.   During development of the Action Plan, re-purposing of the existing stormwater ponds in the center of the Market District was identified as a top priority.

BBCDC1

421 West Georgia Street: Home to Big Bend Community Development Corporation and DPB & Associates.

In 2011 DPB & Associates registered with the state of Florida with a place of business address at 421 West Georgia Street, Tallahassee.

A search of state records shows that Rich Buss has been a registered engineer of DPB & Associates since 12/02/2011.

Interestingly, the 421 West Georgia Street address is the same address of the Big Bend Community Development Corporation (BBCDC) which is a non-profit corporation with significant ties to the City of Tallahassee.

In 2016, the City of Tallahassee released an audit of the organization which documented as of September 2016 the organization had failed to make any payments on city of Tallahassee loans totaling $1,275,000. Some of the loans were first originated in 2002.

The audit also found that the executive director of the BBCDC from 2012-2016, Tom Lewis, hired his daughter to help administer BBCDC activities funded by City CDBG funds.

And this is where it gets interesting.

The Executive Director of the BBCDC, Mr. Lewis, is also listed as the managing member of DPB & Associates. Mr. Lewis is a former employee of the city of Tallahassee who retired as Economic and Community Development Director in 2012.

The online check book for the City of Tallahassee shows that DPB & Associates has been paid $393,154 over the last three years. With the latest payment being $126,361 in March, 2017.

Public records show that the last two times the “Market District Action Plan” came before the city commission, Commissioner Miller’s husband and Rich Buss’s brother, John Buss, was the city employee listed as the information contact.

TR could not find anywhere in city commission agenda items where the work was put out for a bid or awarded to DPB & Associates.

A phone call to the city department handling the project would not provide any information about the bidding process.

Why is DPB & Associates, a for profit company, listing a non-profit company address as their place of business?

Does the connection between the City of Tallahassee, the BBCDC, and the awarding a contract to DPB & Associates violate any city policies?

And finally, was the project competitively bid? If not, what was the process for awarding this lucrative contract?

TR will continue to investigate.

7 Responses to Company that Employs Commissioner Miller’s Brother-In Law Received $393,000 in City Contracts

  1. Marguerite Reply

    June 28, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    Learn the proper use of the words employs and employees.

    • Steve

      Steve Reply

      June 28, 2017 at 8:28 pm

      It has been corrected. Thanks

    • William Reply

      June 28, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Really, that’s what you got out of this story?

  2. Mike Reply

    June 28, 2017 at 9:23 pm

    Congrats again, TR! This corrupt and as-yet unchecked net of nepotism continues to unravel – the next few weeks should be interesting indeed.

    These people have been used to operating without any serious local scrutiny or investigation for almost a decade. Now that the FBI (under a non-Democrat administration) is breathing down their backs, who will be the first among Nancy Miller’s relatives to crack? What plea deals might be offered for a fuller picture of how far up and wide this all goes?

    Somewhere Mr. Gillum is possibly looking for some plausible way to distance himself from all this?

  3. Vernon Reply

    June 28, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Tallahassee swamp keeps getting bigger…but the swamp people stay the same. But I wonder… if you lay up with swamp people for years, can you run for governor and credibly deny you’ve ever been in the swamp?

  4. LSB Reply

    July 2, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Marguerite,

    Did you understand the substance of the story or are you just a spell-checker? If the latter, I think the Democrat, DPB and Nancy Miller’s office have openings. Maybe the Mayor’s office, too. He makes a lot of dumb remarks daily.

  5. Snidley Whiplash Reply

    July 11, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Why just look at Nancy’s smile in that picture.
    That’s the mouth full of denture choppers smile of a professional governmental self-serving crook. I wonder how much of the $393,000 crooked Nancy made her brother kick back to her.

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