Over at News Channel 5, Phil Williams has questions about whether our wealthy governor is going to get even wealthier because of a contract the state recently signed with Jones Lang Lasalle.
It seems that as a candidate, Bill Haslam listed JLL as one of his "major investments." And, whaddya know, the state recently signed a five-year, $330 million contract with the company to manage the state's buildings.
So, what's up with that?
The Haslam administration insisted the contract was awarded through an above-board, competitive process with no political influence.
Still, our investigation discovered that the selection committee was composed of procurement officer Mike Perry and two members of Haslam's own team: chief of staff and former campaign manager Mark Cate and special assistant to the governor Larry Martin.
"Not a lot of independent analysis goes into something when you've got two men working in the governor's office and the other person's job depends upon going along with what they tell him," Turner said.
"It makes it look political?" NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked.
"Oh, it's very political, totally political."
General Services officials said Mark Cate was on the selection committee because of his real estate background, Larry Martin because of his banking and public policy background.
But our investigation discovered that JLL got the big contract after the Haslam administration paid the firm a million dollars as a consultant to conduct a four-month study of state buildings.
They concluded state employees were doing a poor job maintaining them — and costing taxpayers too much.
A photo taken during that process — at an intimate dinner on April 24, 2012, at the Governor's Residence — shows Haslam with JLL executives, including former quarterback Roger Staubach. Also present were Commissioner Cates and Mark Cate, who would eventually serve on the selection committee for the big facilities management contract.
Seems kind of shady. But will anyone care? Could this disturb the consistently positive image of our CEO governor? Andrea Zelinski's cover story in this week's issue of The City Paper suggests an answer: Probably not.