Their facts are the same. But they’re telling two different stories.
The Governor’s folks explain how Graeme Keith got his $3 million state contract this way: The Governor met with Keith and Secretary Frank Perry and Keith made his case – that it would be cheaper for his company to provide maintenance for the state prisons – and Perry disagreed.
Keith did say, at the meeting, that he’d made political contributions and it was time to see what he got in return but the Governor didn’t hear him say it – he was having a side conversation.
After the meeting, the Governor told the Budget Director to figure out who was right: Keith or Perry and the Director decided Keith was right – and gave him the contract.
The other side’s version goes like this: Keith asked Perry for a contract. But Perry said No. Keith then went around Perry to the Governor – who called a meeting. After the meeting, Perry still said No.
The Governor then took the decision out of Perry’s hands and told the Budget Director, Lee Roberts, to decide. Roberts did a brief study and gave Keith the contract.
Same facts. Two stories Who’s right?
There’re no clear answers. But there are signs.
Lee Roberts, the Budget Director, did do a study. And he did conclude Keith’s contract would save the state money. But the study was also only a quarter of a page long.
Roberts never put Keith’s contract out for competitive bids – he just gave it to Keith.
And finally, just the other day, the state did an about face and reversed course – Secretary Perry announced he’s cancelling Keith’s contract.