Last week we covered a bill, HB1285, by Rep. Angela Williams (D-Denver) that would have blown a million dollars to study whether the state was giving enough contracts to minority owned businesses. A reader contacted us after the post published to suggest there might be more to the story.
As it turns out, there might be.
One of Rep. Williams top political patrons, former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb, has a company that specializes in exactly the kind of studies that Williams’ bill outlines.
As Lynn Bartels has noted, Webb helped get Williams through a tough primary in 2010. They are seen as particularly close by political observers at the Capitol, with one Peak reader classifying it as a “too-cozy relationship.”
It must be a coincidence then that Williams’ bill sets aside a cool million dollars in taxpayer cash for just the type of work that Webb’s company, Webb Group International, appears to specialize in. From the Webb Group International’s website:
Webb Group International specializes in:
– Affirmative Action Ordinance for construction and professional service contracts, reviewed and upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
It appears that Webb Group International (WGI) is already cashing in on a similar study in Birmingham, AL:
WGI & Pendleton Friedberg Wilson & Hennessey P.C. have teamed up to produce a disparity study and ordinance program for the City of Birmingham.
It’s not all that uncommon for politicians to attempt to return the favor to their political patrons, but usually they aren’t so blatant about it.
We wonder what Webb might have to say about this apparent conflict of interest. Will the Webb Group International be bidding on this government contract?