City Chose Highest Bidder for Lobbying Contract After Re-calibrating Scoring

City Chose Highest Bidder for Lobbying Contract After Re-calibrating Scoring

Tallahassee Reports has recently written about the $40,000 increase in lobbying services that is included in the City of Tallahassee’s proposed budget. The budget calls for a 23% increase in property taxes.

The reports can be seen here and here.

Based on these reports, a couple of readers asked about the bid process for the lobbyists services contract, so TR did some research.

TR found that three companies bid for the state lobbying contract and the City Commission voted to award the contract to the highest bidder. The image below shows the scores and ranking for the respondents.CityLobbying

The three year contract was approved by Mayor Marks, and Commissioners Gillum, Miller, Mustian, and Ziffer on November 12, 2012 and awarded to long time city lobbyists Ron Book and Sean Pittman.

Mr. Pittman was the campaign manager for former Mayor John Marks and more recently, Mayor Andrew Gillum.

The document above shows that the winning bid was $90,000 while the second place bid of Bryant Miller Olive, P.A. was for $68,000, a difference of $22,000.

TR, in a previous report cited above, compared the amount paid by other local governments for state level lobbying services. The report indicated Leon County, Lakeland and Gainesville paid between $50,000 and $60,000 per year.

Also, the document shows that the City bid process re-calibrated the points after the initial scoring. This re-calibration was based on an interview of the top two candidates.

The low cost bidder, Bryant Miller Olive PA, lost points in the second scoring, while Ronald L. Book PA increased in all three categories.

TR has determined that the City did not conduct second interviews in the awarding of the Federal level and the City electric utility lobbying contracts,and therefore, there were no re-calibration of scores.

8 Responses to "City Chose Highest Bidder for Lobbying Contract After Re-calibrating Scoring"

  1. These are excerpts from on-line articles that may be viewed upon Googling “Ron Book lobbyist.”

    ARTICLE #1:
    Crime & Politics: Thursday, November 9, 1995 Miami New Times

    Ron Book is facing the toughest lobbying campaign of his career, more challenging than anything he ever did for Wayne Huizenga or Ralph Sanchez or Metro-Dade County or any of his other prominent clients. Book must try to sell the public on his own integrity.

    It’s not the first time he has found himself scrambling to put the proper spin on his own image. But this is different. This is going to be far more difficult. Because now Ron Book is a convicted criminal.

    In the past, he’s simply been known as an influence peddler. Today, however, he is an attorney who knowingly violated Florida’s campaign finance laws — not once or twice, but on dozens of occasions over a number of years, in a systematic and willful manner.

    Book’s colleagues in the lobbying business were not shocked. Years ago they recognized a disturbing malady that would periodically overcome Book and others like him, a sudden collapse of the ethical standards upon which the lobbying profession is precariously balanced.

    They called it the “Ronnie Book Syndrome.”
    People are said to suffer from the Ronnie Book Syndrome when their zeal overtakes them, when their frenetic lobbying leaves no room for sober reflection, when winning becomes so important that right and wrong lose their meaning. Arrogance, overconfidence, and a sense of infallibility are symptoms of the disease. And once infected, the victim will always carry the virus, forever susceptible to another outbreak. Like malaria, it becomes a permanent feature of the afflicted individual.

    In Book’s case, each time he fell prey to the syndrome he claimed he had learned a valuable lesson. But some would say those lessons were quickly forgotten. In late 1985, he came under investigation for allegedly helping to bribe an Opa-locka politician. Book had been caught on police surveillance tapes telling the official: “I’ll see that you get paid for your time. . . . I’m there for you. I’m there for whatever you tell me I got to do. How more direct can I be?”


    ARTICLE #2
    Feds Eyeing Lobbyist Ron Book, Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority

    By Bob Norman
    Friday, February 11, 2011

    In Broward and Tallahassee politics, influence peddling comes in countless forms. Here’s one currently under investigation by the federal government:

    A powerful lobbyist, seeking to curry favor with a state senator and benefit a major client, helps to secure the senator’s boyfriend a job at the development firm the lobbyist represents. The boyfriend also happens to be a Housing Authority honcho who goes on to oversee two new multimillion-dollar publicly financed projects with the very developer who hired him.


    ARTICLE #3

    Ron Book Remains Top Dog on Florida Lobbying Scene
    By Allison Nielsen
    June 12, 2014 – 6:00pm

    One of the biggest names in Florida lobbying, if not the biggest, is Ron Books. Over the last 20 years, Book has defined lobbying in the Sunshine State, consistently rising to the top as the one best of the best in the lobbying world, ranking his firm No. 1 on Sunshine State News list of Top Lobbyists in the Sunshine State.

    Last year was a particularly lucrative year for Books firm, which brought in $5.6 million in legislative fees, or around $1.6 million per lobbyist. –

    1. Only one commissioner is gone. One of them is now Mayor and the signature on the bid is someone running for the commission. Also, don’t forget about Anita.

      THAT’S WHAT!

    2. If it walks like corruption, and quacks like corruption, and SMELLS like corruption, it’s a duck…. so says City of Tallahassee Commissioners and leadership…

      And their sycophants…

  2. Still another example of Tallahassee government’s standard procedure of keeping the payola coming (at taxpayer expense) for established insiders, collusive associates, and backroom cronies of city officials. TR is shining lights where city officials have previously operated in the dark.

    What we have brewing in Tallahassee is a mirror image of Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore, et al. If present city officials remain in power (in their usual musical-chair way) for a few more years, Tallahassee’s fate will be the same as those failed municipalities in the normal textbook process:
    1: Businesses and citizens depart.
    2: The city’s tax base and revenue decline.
    3: Unemployment, crime, and urban decay set in (in some Tally areas, this is already the norm).
    4: Reputation established, a city ruined.

    We can prevent this dismal future if we fight the city’s corrupt way of operating the government, using lawsuits, legal battles, and recall votes to force the city into ethical management. If we let them continue as usual, we have only our own apathy to blame for our fate.

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