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ADB charged with keeping it all in the family
The North Central Texas Fusion System (NCTFS) is an intelligence and preparedness operation financed by federal Homeland Security and bio-terrorism grants and run by Collin County's Homeland Security Department.
The prime contractor to the Fusion Center is ADB Consulting, a small company based in Santa Fe, NM and owned by the husband and wife team of Dr. Robert Johnson and Anita Miller. Robert or as he is known, "Dr. Bob", is the son of Plano's Congressman Sam Johnson. For the last several years, ADB has won a series of "no bid" contracts from the county totaling over $1.1 million to set up the databases and programming for the NCTFS.
Last year, ADB consulting issued a request for bids to subcontract a portion of the database conversion for the Fusion Center. According to sources who I've spoken with, two companies responded to the estimated $80,000 bid request.
One, Sypherlink, is a mid-sized company out of Dublin, OH that specializes in database converting and merging, with a history of doing work for Homeland Security.
The other, Bassham and Associates was a small, unincorporated operation sharing a West Texas post office box address with a beauty salon and a defunct surveying business.
The Collin County Observer has obtained a copy of a letter of protest, dated September 6, 2007 from Sypherlink addressed to Kelley Stone, the Collin County Director of Homeland Security and the NCTFS and to the County Purchasing Agent, Frank Ybarbo.
In the letter, Sypherlink charges that Bassham and Associates is nothing more than a one man operation operating out of the home of Elbert Bassham and that Anita and Dr. Bob Johnson awarded the bid to Bassham in violation of Federal Homeland Security Grant Management Guidelines.
Elbert Bassham is the brother of Anita Johnson, the co-owner of ADB consulting.
In their letter, Sypherlink points out a page from ADB's now defunct website that is headlined,"Elbert Launches Strategic Services Business."
ADB's web page goes on to state, "Anita's brother has launched Bassham and Associates strategic Services (BASS). BASS provides software products and services used by academic and business organizations to implement plans and analyze performance."
At the time when ADB awarded the contract to BASS, Elbert Bassham was a full time employee at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. Bassham retired from Sul Ross on September 14, 2007, to work "in computer programming". Bassham was quoted as saying he would continue to live in Marfa and that, "I am now subcontracting to a corporation and working on a server in Dallas."
|ADB announces that Anita's brother Elbert has founded Bassham & Assoc||Robert Johnson, Anita Miller and Elbert Bassham at Lake Tahoe||Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Plano)|
Bassham and Associates web site even bears an uncanny resemblance to the home page of the North Central Texas Fusion System.
Bassham & Assoc website
Sypherlink's letter quotes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Financial Grant Management Guide:
In their complaint to the County, Sypherlink accuses ADB of:
- Conflict of interest in that ADB awarded the contract to the brother of a co-owner of ADB.
- Awarding the contract to an unqualified vendor since BASS has no experience in law enforcement data bases or in any database data discovery. Sypherlink also wrote that after D&B search on Bassham and Associates, they could not find that BASS was a registered business in any of the 50 United States.
- Unfair competition in that ADB gave BASS favorable information, positioning and bid scoring. due to its relationship with the owners of ADB.
Sypherlink's letter was dated September 6, 2007 and was addressed to both the County Purchasing Agent and the director of the Fusion Center. A search of Commissioners Court agendas and minutes since September, 2007 turns up no sign of any action by the commissioners to address or investigate Sypherlink's accusations.
To the contrary, even after receiving the complaint, the Collin County Commissioners Court continued to award 'no-bid' contracts to ADB consulting.
Since September of 2007, the court has awarded 3 additional 'no-bid' contracts to ADB worth a total of $311,000.
According to check registers published on the county website, Collin County paid ADB consulting $556,123.51 in fiscal year 2008 for consulting, maintenance and software for the North Texas Fusion Center. All funds paid ADB were for 'no bid' services.
Responding to a open records request, the Collin County Auditor reported that since 2004, the county has paid a total of $1,139,245.77 in no-bid contracts to ADB.
Since the Collin County Observer began coverage of the relationship between ADB and the Fusion Center, ADB has taken down its website and the County has placed a "Request for Bid" for a general contractor for the Fusion Center.
The bid process is ongoing with a closing date of March 12, 2009.
Sypherlink letter to Kelley Stone, dated September 6, 2007
Screen shots of ADB and BASS web sites ca. September, 2007
CCO Coverage of Fusion Center:
Fusion: Fear, Fiction, Fact and Freedom, CCO, Feb. 2009
Commissioners to consider "no bid" contract for Fusion Center, CCO, Dec. 2008
Code Red: better late than never - or is it?, CCO, Apr. 2008
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