The blockbuster Tampa Bay Times DoE/Jefferson scandal story puts Corcoran's career on the clock
The DoE/Jefferson scandal is also now DeSantis' scandal. Period. The corruption of Corcoran's DoE is so complete that competing corrupt acts canceled each other out. The governor owns that.
I don’t think I’ve ever written an article just to say: read somebody else’s article.
But go read the Tampa Bay Times DoE/Jefferson story, a nuclear bomb in Florida education. It’s clear that MGT is the biggest part of the story and the Ramsey/Tuck bumbling to get on the grift seems to have blown up the bigger grift. That’s so awesome — and as a bonus, you get Ralph Arza. This guy.
Key story excerpts:
TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Education Department is under fire for trying to steer a multimillion-dollar contract to a company whose CEO has ties to the state’s education commissioner.
Records and interviews show that, before the Florida Department of Education asked for bids, it was already in advanced talks with the company to do the work, subverting a process designed to eliminate favoritism.
The company is MGT Consulting, led by former Republican lawmaker Trey Traviesa of Tampa, a longtime colleague of the state’s education commissioner, Richard Corcoran.
During a bidding process that was open for one week, MGT was the only pre-approved vendor to submit a proposal — pitched at nearly $2.5 million a year to help the struggling Jefferson County School District with its academic and financial needs.
Traviesa served in the Florida House of Representatives at a time when Corcoran was chief of staff to then-House Speaker Marco Rubio.
MGT had a leg up on the competition for the Jefferson County work: It had been in talks with the Department of Education for at least a week before the procurement was announced, and it was apparently tailor-made for MGT.
On Nov. 1, a week before the state opened the project for bids, the Department of Education hosted a meeting to discuss the transition plan with Jefferson County school superintendent Eydie Tricquet, Jefferson County’s current charter school operator and Traviesa.
Also included was prominent charter school lobbyist Ralph Arza, a longtime close ally of Rubio and Corcoran who resigned from the Legislature in 2006 after using racial slurs during a drunken tirade. Arza has four relatives, including his brother and sister-in-law, working in Jefferson County for the company currently operating the schools.
And, in an excerpt that’s probably the most systemically damning and doesn’t look great for Chancellor Jacob Oliva:
On Nov. 5, a Department of Education employee was told to draft the request for proposals. She was given a proposed agreement between MGT and the department and told to base the request for proposals on that document, according to a subsequent report by the department’s inspector general. The employee told the inspector general that Jacob Oliva, one of Corcoran’s top deputies and the head of K-12 education in Florida, gave her the document.
On Nov. 8, the day the request for quotes was issued, Tricquet told the School Board that state officials told her MGT had already been selected and had a contract.
“I do know on Nov. 29, MGT will be taking over,” Tricquet told board members. “I’ll know more when I’m meeting tomorrow with MGT.”
Wow. Wow. Wow.
So much more to come.