The MWAA Contracting Scandal

by James A. Bacon

Thanks to the Inspector General’s report, we know that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) has played fast and loose with expense accounts and hiring practices.  Super Bowl tickets. Junkets to Europe. Relatives on the payroll. Sweetheart deals with former board members. It’s an ugly picture… but it’s not the real story.

The heart of the MWAA scandal is the breakdown in procurement and contracting policy. That’s where the big money is. That’s where potentially tens of millions of dollars  have been squandered at the expense of those who fly in and out of Dulles and Ronald Reagan airports and those who will be wind up paying higher tolls to underwrite the cost of extending Metrorail to Dulles.

The IG’s report contains damning detail after damning detail. Herewith are some of the highlights…

MWAA has frequently missed opportunities to maximize competition for contracts over $200,000, as it is required to do under its own Contracting Manual. Between 2009 and 2011, the authority awarded 190 such contracts. Only 68 were awarded openly. Five were sole-source awards. The other 117, amounting to $225 million in business, used categorical exceptions to limit competition.

MWAA employees have not always obtained Board approval for high-value contracts. Extrapolating from their findings, the auditors project that MWAA spent $83.6 million on contracts without Board approval — 14% of all contracts awarded between January 2009 and June 2011, the time period studied.

Because of poor planning, MWAA has extended existing contracts rather than award new ones on a competitive basis, missing yet more opportunities to obtain competition and better prices. Even when soliciting competitive bids, MWAA board members sometimes divulged non-public information that gave particular bidders an edge. “One MWAA Board member … disclosed in an email to a potential contractor another contractor’s pricing.”

MWAA lacks basic controls to ensure that contract policies are followed. The authority frequently allowed work on contracts to begin prior to the award dates — before the contracting officer completed and signed the contract documents. In some instances, work began before the contracting officer even knew of the contract.

So, what has been the result of all this sloppiness?

In one example, states the IG report, “the expansion and renovation of the Dulles Airport main terminal, an $8 million contract awarded in 1989, ballooned to $147 million. From 2003 to 2011, MWAA issued 10 contract modifications at a cost of $36 million to add design and construction management services for integrating the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) luggage screening equipment and the airport’s baggage handling system.”

Another example:  “Over the past 8 years, MWAA awarded more than 80 percent of work under three groups of multiple-award contracts to a single contractor. … However, the contractor’s rates were often higher than the other multiple-award contractor’s rates” — between 28% and 234% higher in one particular 2012 contract.

A third example: In another set of contracts, one of five participating firms received more than 38% of the work. As it happened, a former MWAA board member was an owner of the firm. That, says the IG report with considerable under-statement, “could create the appearance of favoritism.”

Bacon’s bottom line: Once the MWAA board has reformed itself — as it seems to be doing — the next job is to reform procurement and contracting. Heads should roll. Especially critical, new board members appointed by Governor Bob McDonnell should keep an eagle eye on every step in the process for selecting a contractor for the $2.7 billion Phase 2 of the Rail-to-Dulles project.

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37 responses to “The MWAA Contracting Scandal

  1. I’m not optimistic that MWAA will “reform” itself. I see it as a room full of rats running loose until the IG shows up.

    so, what I’d advocate FOR EVERY SINGLE BOARD in Va is a MANDATORY IG inspection done randomly to keep the rat-types on their toes.

    I can see where the boards have a useful purpose but the problem is they are a de facto unelected government with meager transparency and even less accountability.

    we need to stop this. It’s the antithesis of elected governance.

    it’s the very reason the Supreme Court struck down the 3202 regional transportation authorities – the judges knew that once-created these authorities would run independent of voters even as they taxed them.

    MWAA is essentially taxing people to fund it’s activities and those that are taxed have no say in it. That’s Un-American. Where the hell is the Tea Party when you need them?

    • “I can see where the boards have a useful purpose but the problem is they are a de facto unelected government with meager transparency and even less accountability.”.

      Nothing in the world stops Bob McDonnell from appointing an elected official to the MWAA board. Or the UVA board. Or the VPA board. Or any other board. In fact, McDonnell could appoint only elected officials to these boards. But he doesn’t. He appoints cronies. So did Kaine. So will the next governor.

      A board is only as good as the board members. Appoint hacks and cronies and you get a bad board.

    • “it’s the very reason the Supreme Court struck down the 3202 regional transportation authorities – the judges knew that once-created these authorities would run independent of voters even as they taxed them.”.


      The judges held that an un-elected board cannot levy taxes since that would be against provisions of the Virginia Constitution.

      Judges don’t veto legislation, governors do.

      The fact that the Clown Show and Little Timmy Kaine could author and approve legislation that was obviously unconstitutional should be an indictment of the Clown Show not an endorsement of the Virginia Supreme Court.

  2. Have you actually read the audit report?

    Much ado about nothing.

    In 190 contracts over $200,000, 5 were sole sourced. In other words, about 3% of the contracts were sole sourced. Not exactly a smoking gun of fraud.

    The supposed smoking gun of awarding contracts that were competed but without “full competition” is a red herring as well. Here are the categorical exceptions that can cause a contact to be awarded without full competition –

    “The six categorical exceptions established in section 1.2 of MWAA’s second edition Contracting Manual include (1) limited competition for urgent needs; legal, financial, audit, or legislative representation professional services; and local business set asides; (2) airport security controlled distribution RFP; (3) utility supplies and services; (4) Government purchasing agreements; (5) airline tenant procured projects; and (6) proprietary equipment and software. Use of these exceptions requires no further Board approval.”.

    Unless you know the breakdown of which of these exceptions was used, you have no idea if “limited competition” is a problem. Government purchasing agreements, for example, means that a vendor has already won a competitive bidding process to offer goods and services I assume.

    In a company of 1,400 employees there was a case where a board member had two grandchildren working at the company and one board member’s spouse worked at a law firm that got a contract for $100,000.

    Some part time employees didn’t get background checks. A couple of secretaries were paid more than the auditor thought they deserved (15 – 20% more).

    The junkets and freebies are very disappointing because they evidence a “we don’t care” attitude. The people who accepted those gifts should be fired.

    When Bob McDonnell first took office, VDOT had to admit that it lost track of $1B of funds. Now, that should have been a scandal.

    The MWAA should be more transparent. And, accepting expensive freebies is a big “no no”. However, this report is far from a scathing rebuke of an out-of-control organization.

  3. re: 3202, authorities/boards and taxing.

    The Supreme Court basically ruled that an unelected board cannot levy taxes – that’s what I thought it said.

    Tell me if they said something else.

    but those transportation authorities are not that different from a lot of water/sewer authorities that have been delegated the defacto ability to set rates.

    the issue goes to what the board is doing – is it spending money for stuff for infrastructure or services – and how those who are paying have some ability to effect – by voting.

    DJ blames Va governance but many other states, and the Feds via interstate “compacts” – like MWAA create similar boards.

    I would say that MWAA operates little different than the 3202 transportation authorities would have operated and I’d think also that if MWAA were a sole Va-created board the Va Supreme Court would rule it just as unconstitutional as it did the 3202 authorities.

    As an Interstate Compact – WITH THE ABILITY TO raise money form people – it falls through the cracks.

    Most Interstate Compacts are appropriated money from elected leaders who are responsible to voters for taxes – and spending.

    MWAA is a critter that is destined to run amok IMHO. They are accountable to almost no one – save an IG – which gives me some comfort but also makes me wonder what in the law gave someone the authority to order an IG investigation – who did that?

    • The Virginia Constitution says an un-elected board cannot levy taxes. The Va Supreme Court found that HB3202 was in violation of that part of the state constitution.

      “DJ blames Va governance but many other states, and the Feds via interstate “compacts” – like MWAA create similar boards.”.

      I don’t quibble with the boards. I quibble with the people put on the boards by the politicians.

      The MWAA seems to have a terrible governance structure for the Rail To Dulles project. Of course, this makes one wonder why Tim Kaine awarded that project to the MWAA.

  4. It seems like there are some significant loyalty and conflict issues, as well as lax contract procedures. It may be that these are not so significant that the Board and top management would be fired, but they have a duty to correct the problems. I expect that with this public scrutiny, the ensuing embarrassment, and the possibility of losing their posisions, they will address this, and it will be interesting to see what their next Board minutes reveal. A few people may need to be fired.

  5. I think it is a mistake to depend on personalities to do the right thing.

    the procedures have to be institutionalized and independent of personalities.

    Personalities come and go and one good guy can and does easily get replaced by a scum ball and often no one is the wiser until later.

    I see it’s Ray LaHood that appointed the IG, eh?

    Boards like MWAA operated the way they are right now are bombs waiting to blow up.

    “tightening up procedures” is mostly words..that fade away easily and they are back to business as usual.. out of sight and mind of the public.

  6. DJ says that MWAA’s crooked contracting is no big deal, but when the Audit Report says that MWAA was steering approvals to “Contractor A” that was charging rates of 1.3 to 3.3 as much as the other contractors, I’d say that I see a smoking gun that probably caused the double price of the entire 5 to 6 Billion dollar Dulles Rail project.

    I submit that the excessive cost of this project, PLUS the interest we will pay on the loans we have to get to PAY those bloated prices, will cripple this region for the next half-century. And THAT, people… is a big deal. And that doesn’t even include the precipitous drop we are about to see in business here in Northern Virginia, as the federal government desperately cuts spending every way it can think of, because it too has been making a bunch of bad agreements much like this one.

    • “DJ says that MWAA’s crooked contracting is no big deal, but when the Audit Report says that MWAA was steering approvals to “Contractor A” that was charging rates of 1.3 to 3.3 as much as the other contractors, I’d say that I see a smoking gun that probably caused the double price of the entire 5 to 6 Billion dollar Dulles Rail project.”.

      There is simply no way that you can make the inference you make with the facts on record. The “Contractor A” description in the audit report was an example. Assuming that you can take an example of bad contracting and apply it to all contracts (in order to get to your “double price” theory) is not logical.

      I see no disclosure by the auditor of the dollar value of the contracts awarded to “Contractor A”. Do you know the dollar value?

      As for crippling the region for the next half century – really? I happen to have lived in this region for a bit more than a half century. I have seen many predictions of doom and gloom. Many complained that the original Metro construction would never be completed, would result in a system that nobody used and wouldn’t improve the standard of living around the Metro stations. Wrong, wrong and wrong.

      You may be right, maybe this is the construction effort that will kill Northern Virginia. All I can say is that I’ve heard it before and we ain’t dead yet.

  7. I totally agree with Bob’s scathing comment. DJ spends an inordinate amount of time blaming Richmond and advocating Home Rule and look at what “home rule” did for the Silver Line and then Richmond and the Feds get blamed for not coming up with enough money.


    • Larry is as confused as ever.

      A few facts:

      1. The interstate compact known as the MWAA is a compact between the Commonwealth of Virginia and others. It is not a compact between the localities of Northern Virginia and others.

      2. The governance structure of the MWAA was established for Virginia by the Commonwealth of Virginia, not by the localities of Northern Virginia.

      3. The decision to award management of the Rail to Dulles effort to the MWAA was made by Tim Kaine, not the government officials in Northern Virginia.

      4. The members of the board of the MWAA from Virginia (including the troublesome board members who have retired or been dismissed) were appointed by the Governor of Virginia, not the local governments in Northern Virginia.

      Your belief that the decisions regarding the MWAA and Silver Line efforts were made under “home rule” is misguided.

  8. Is anyone going to resign?

  9. Yes – former MWAA Board member Dennis Martire resigned last month, and now former a MWAA Vice President, Arl , also resigned, just before this audit report was released.

    Transportation Department Audit On MWAA Finds Violations
    WAMU, November 1, 2012

    I’d say that the title of this article puts it… a bit mildly. 🙂

    DJ, I know this: The steering of contracts to “Contractor A” who in 2012 for example charged 1.3 to 3.3 times as much as ther contractors, has been going on for the past eight years. See p.14 of the Audit report (p.15 of the pdf). I think this is a pretty good indication that MWAA is seriously corrupt. And then, the apparent double price of the overall cost of the overall price of Phase II and the prices of the few items that are not redacted, that the public can see in Phase II, indicates that MWAA is very probably accepting estimates on the Dulles Rail job that are based on overpriced billing as well.

    The mystery is why MWAA’s estimating companies are handing us such indefensibly high estimates, and yet they are never questioned about the BASIS of those estimates.

    • I don’t know, Bob. All of these mega-construction programs seem to have issues. The question in my mind is whether the MWAA effort has mo9re issues than most.

      I wish the auditor would have used dollar numbers for the whole “Contractor A” mystery.

      In fact, I wish they would have quantified their estimate of the total additional costs added by these procurement issues.

      What I see from the report is sloppiness with a dash of “this is our private playground” behavior.

      Why not appoint a permanent, independent auditor to the program?

      As for the redacting – I am with you. The rule should be simple – if you want to bid on a public contract then your prices become public.

      Finally, where is Tom Davis? I had hoped that his appointment might put a generally respected guy in a position to say, “I am watching over this program for the benefit of the people of Virginia.”. Instead, he goes invisible.

      • You asked where Tom Davis is? He is hiding because he is directly involved in the $180,000 hiring of Mame Reiley one day after she resigned for health reasons. Tom Davis and the Governor wanted her Democratic appointed seat. So Mame was offered a MWAA job in return for her seat. Jack Potter, CEO took the fall for Davis after this was exposed. Which I still do not understand how the IG missed this hiring in the first IG Report. Potter was brought in by Davis. Potter knows he will be fine coving for Davis because Davis and Virginia hold the power now on the mostly Republican Va Board. So Potter was asked to dive on the sword for Davis and the Governor. This is why you don’t hear anyone asking for Potter’s resignation. All of these contracts that did not go before the Board for approval are clearly a crime. But the CEO is not responsible for some reason. You don’t hear anyone asking for any resignations. You will just hear we hear you and will write a new policy to fix it. All of he new policies adopted are just window dressing. The Board can still travel. They can and will still travel Business Class. The only change was the Chairman now pre approves Board travel. Feel better? The ethics policy is another feel good gesture. It still allows all these lawyers and ex politicians room for corruption. It’s a joke. But what I find amazing is that the IG report says the Chairman was the person who gave his wife a $100,000 contract. It was the CEO who said he hired Mame Reiley for $180,000 one day after she resigned her Board seat early for health reasons. The top leader for the staff and the top leader for the Board were both found spending $280,000 plus of MWAA money without authorization. But I don’t hear anyone saying these two leaving would be a good start. What changes are being made to provide the public with the trust we deserve? You don’t hear the Governor or Frank Wolf saying anything anymore or asking for resignations because it’s Davis and Potter that are really the targets. They can’t come down on these issues because they are the people that are helping them achieve the goals of Virginia politicians. The Post is in bed with Davis. The Editorial Board has been used to attack some members of the Board and provide a pass for others. You want to see real change, ask for resignations.

        • Coverup, you raise excellent points. Fixing the board is Step One. Fixing top management is Step Two. And you probably can’t fix management without removing people. Now that Gov. McDonnell has his people on board, I see no move to carry out Step Two, although it may be too early to draw conclusions, given the fact that some of his appointees have not yet attended a single meeting. Let’s see what happens in the next board meeting.

          • The problem is much worse than initially portrayed. Initially it was said to be a MWAA board “problem” but that the staff was “professional”.

            Now it’s clear that the entire MWAA is messed up and directly responsible for overruns and other problems.

            The basic problem, in my view, is that with most agencies, authorities and boards the State and the Gov controls their purse strings and can essentially starve them of funds and run them into the ground.

            In this case, MWAA has an independent and apparently untouchable source of funds and they are not accountable to anyone for most of their taxing and spending actions.

            This is untenable and unacceptable.

            this is an agency that is running amok and operates as if they are their own masters… and immune from control with elected officials.

            And I do blame much of the NOVA elected who, if nothing else, could have tried to take actions in Congress and Richmond to bring this rouge group under control and they did not , most are silent and that’s damming in my view.

            there ought to be a NoVa-wide uproar over this and there is barely a whimper.

          • “there ought to be a NoVa-wide uproar over this and there is barely a whimper.”

            Agreed!!! MWAA and its Board and Officers took inappropriate gifts from contractors that they were supposed to supervise, they played favorites, they steered certain work to the highest bidder by far – and not surprisingly, evidence strongly suggests that they are seriously overestimating the cost of the Dulles Rail Phase II, and that they heavily overestimated Phase I as well. Furthermore, WMATA was shown to be pricing work and line items similarly. Yet all of that was played down, the whole story was buried in the national election, our major media is misrepresenting the story in order to cover up for their favorites, our so-called ‘leaders’ and our so called ‘news media’ is whistling and looking the other way – AGAIN – and obviously the whole story is just supposed to dry up and blow away. As I say, with a Billion and a half dollars of overcharge in Phase II alone, anything is possible. What we need now, is for the Ombudsman at the Washington Post to slap some wrists there (it’s happened in the past), and for some government leader to demand hearings where MWAA’s and FTA’s cost estimators report the basis of their estimates, in public, to federal panels. Also, the news media needs to examine and report the line-item prices of the Dulles Rail job. For some reason, the prices of this job have so far escaped any sober review – all we got was bogus chicanery, like having Fairfax County pay for the Rt 28 station, so that this cost could be hidden from the Phase II books. And did anybody look at the highly touted Memorandum of Agreement? The main thing that it specifies in any detail, is the Tifia loans. Where is the spreadsheet showing what was and was not adjusted, and how it was adjusted, and what was done, and what was not done? For example – in the March 2012 price estimate, MWAA’s ‘saving’ number dropped from $135 million saving to $63 million saving. That is a reduction of $72 million dollars from the supposed MOA number. Where was that number defined? And how, where and for what are we paying this extra $72 million?

            Why did the Phase II parking garage price estimate jump 29%, and why did the Rt 28 (Innovation) Metrorail station price estimate jump 22%, between July 2011 and March 2012? And why did the so-called ‘news media’ never happen to mention those jumps?

            And why was there no mention of the DOT audit of the oversight of Dulles Rail Phase II, that was announced on March 15, 2012? What we got on Novermber 1, 2012 was results of the audit of the management of MWAA, that was announced on June 21, 2011. Imagine a report on the specifics of the Dulles Rail Phase II job! But there has never been a peep from our so-called ‘news media’ about this audit that was announced earlier this year. Can that really be an accident?

          • Ask this question of Potter. If someone on his staff hired someone for $180,000 and did not tell him, would he fire them? I’m sure the answer is yes. So why should the Board not fire him for hiring Mame Reiley without advising his Board? It’s really that simple. This is a cover up and LaHood , Davis are behind it. McDonald wanted the Board seat. Davis saw a possible win, win situation. He made Potter hire Mame in exchange for her Board seat. The FBI will be investigating this issue. Once the email trail starts you will see just where the level of corruption is at MWAA. Stay tuned, it’s just starting to get to the truth. Also the first Board meeting was business as usual. But I think you are correct and we need to see what they do at the next meeting.

    • I’m talking about The CEO Potter who is directly responsible for all these no bid contracts. Who is the COO? That person has responsibility here as we’ll? Potter hired the Ex Board member one day after she resigned for health reasons for $180,000. But he never told anyone she was hired. No announcements that he hired this key employee. Does anyone find this strange? But now we should trust him to reform MWAA? Someone needs to be fired and it starts with him. Then I would look at whoever the COO is that person has to be let go.

  10. constructionandlaborguy

    Bob, I appreciate all you have done to shed some light on Phase 2 and the corruption at MWAA. You’ve asked some tough questions but I’m with DJRippert on this one.

    I’m not convinced that Phase 2 is double the overall cost of what it ought to be.

    I’m not discounting this possibility or that some fat has been estimated in Phase 2 and some costs could be trimmed, but I just don’t see the evidence in your google document.

    I totally agree that pushing the garages off onto counties and then counting it as “savings” is a bit deceptive as most DTR users funding Phase 2 are the same folks likely to pick up the tab with increased taxes or user fees to pay for the garages.

    Just out of curiosity, do you know who Contractor A is and were they involved in Phase 1 of the Silver Line?

    Are they somehow involved in the planning/estimating of Phase 2?

    Bids for Phase 2 haven’t even been submitted yet and I think some healthy competition might bring down some of those costs, but I don’t see the link between Contractor A and Phase 2 costs increases.

  11. I don’t know for libel-suit sure who “Contractor A” is. I wish that the double price in this rail fiasco was court-proven, and that I could show exactly where the money is going, who is getting it, and exactly how it was all done, right now. If I could, I would – whether the perpetrators would try to bury me in lawsuits or not. All I can do is show evidence of price gouging at a multi-billion dollar level, from the few scraps of evidence that slipped out of MWAA’s control when the US DOT and FTA came to town and dropped a few numbers. I really think that I have shown solid enough evidence that it should long ago have been picked up by an honest news media. But no. Actually I would have missed it, if the FTA had not bungled the price of the Rt 28 station, and the news media had not covered that up.

    Happily, the FBI subpoenas tell me that investigators may be on their way to making some interesting arrests and convictions, and I can only hope that they proceed quickly. We honor the sanctity of signed contracts in this country, and a few crooked hacks could lock us into crippling debts for generations.

    My work is amateur, and my numbers are a bit rickety, but thanks to the FTA-dropped numbers and MWAA’s outrageous, drunk-with-power behavior, the figures are firm enough that I am not afraid to stand up and call it “two to one overpricing.”

    I believe that the Dulles Rail / Silver Line project has been full of games, tricks, and deliberate diversions. That group of MWAA Board and Officers were high level, politically connected people, including a few lawyers – we aren’t talking poor, ignorant schoolkids here. They knew that there was to be no federal money for Phase II, and yet they fought like mad to run the prices through the ceiling and into the sky. First there was the above ground-below ground issue, then there was the PLA, then there were the looney trips by the Board and Officers, and now there is this Audit report, which I believe shows a clear outline of a smoking gun of criminal wrongdoing.

    Was all of that diversion scripted and orchestrated to hide an even bigger problem? Because even at 1.5 Billion dollars of possible overcharge in Phase II, and probably another Billion or more of overcharge in Phase I, that’s not the worst of it for Northern Virginia. Here comes Metro itself, with its money-pit qualities and its further $13.1 Billion in backed up maintenance and capital needs. Six Billion down, 13 Billion to go, and soon we’ll have several Billion more of backed up maintenance in our own back yard. This has the potential to really knock this region out, I think – because it’s all for one little local rail line with no express tracks! Fairfax and Loudoun Counties are now inextricably tangled in Metro’s problems, and other problems, that are not what the political hacks who approved this travesty bargained for. In my opinion, they thought “Gee, we can play this game, get paid off, and get a train going, and be heros.” But now they must be starting to think “Uhh, the FBI? Maybe I ought to retire, right about now…” They never did anything this big before, but I see that some big contractors and estimators have left a whole trail of bankrupt toll roads and price-ballooning jobs behind them. Maybe somebody should ask them if this job is going to be yet another such mess.

    I think we will see the political perpetrators retire and move away from here, now that this damage is done, and the moneymakers will move on to new challenges. What can I say? I really hate to see this happen – especially when it happens right where I live. So I fight it.

  12. the funny thing (not) was we have been told that the MWAA was a “board” problem – not a “staff” problem as if the two were separate and distinct and not working on the same things.

    Mr. Bruins has his finger on the problem and it reeks.

  13. With Silver Line Phase 1, MWAA has proved to the world that they are unqualified to procure & monitor construction of large scale public works projects. MWAA must be immediately stripped of its authority for both construction contract procurement & construction contract administration. These are complex duties, which should be turned over to VDOT, because VDOT has systems and well qualified staff to take over this role.
    The most glaring example of inept construction contract procurement by MWAA is that they built Phase 1 with a design build contract, and that they plan to do the same with Phase 2. Why can’t MWAA provide a complete design, and then send a package of finalized construction drawings and specifications out for a lump sum bid.

  14. The problem with Phase I is its pricetag. It’s difficult to document the overcharges in Phase I, because the prices revealed to the taxpaying and tollpaying public are redacted, evidently because the no-bid contract that was arranged by (then) Governor Tim Kaine’ and his cohorts, before the job was even handed to MWAA for further mangling, involves a Public-Private Partnership.

    I thought a PPP was supposed to REDUCE costs. But the numbers that slipped out of that redaction for Phase II are two times what they should be, the dollars per mile for Phase II are two times wat they should be, and a Fairfax County Dulles Rail Project Manager said that the costs of Phase I are similar to the costs of Phase II. (When the prices are deliberately hidden, one must use deduction to figure them out.)

    When a bigger and more elaborate Metrorail station reently completed in wealthy Fairfeld Connecticut costs less than HALF of what our Rt 28 (Innovaton) Metrorail station is estimated to cost, when parking garages typically cost HALF of what our Phase II parking garages are estimated to cost, when the dollars per mile for comparable projects are less than HALF of the dollars per mile of this project, when the Metrorail station and parking garage cost estimates hyperinflate 22% and 29% respectively in less than a year, and the so-called ‘news media’ doesn’t happen to mention any of that – and then when the US DOT Inspector General shows MWAA funneling work to a “Contractor A” at 1.3 to 3.3 times what other contractors charge for the same work – what are we supposed to think?—Silver-Line-overcost-report—Bruhns.pdf

    So why are the Dulles Rail estimators not being called out to justify their sky-high cost estimates? With probably 2.5 Billion of overcharge involved, were we supposed to be satisfied to see a Congressional panel embarrass Potter, Curto and Davis for a few minutes? That’s a mighty expensive clown show there.

    And yes, Cover Up is right – Curto, Davis and especially Potter should GO. Why should they not be booted like the REST of the partying bigshots at MWAA? Maybe their buddies can get them jobs somewhere else. I understand there is a big, overpriced rail project in Hawaii – maybe they can go work there.

  15. Potter, Curto and Davis all said at the hearing that they are cleaning house. Let the ax fall on whoever was involved they said. But it was them who were sited in the IG report for hiring Mame Reiley for $180,000 and giving contracts of $100,000 to a family members law firm. So why are they not starting with themselves to resign. Davis said he does not need this unpaid position. He acts like he is doing all of us a favor by being on this Board and spending $180,000 of MWAA money together Mame Reiley hired and get her Board seat. Well thanks Tom, we appreciate our tolls going up because you put this grand deal together. They need to leave now. I love how Davis said they are going to clean house but said Potter and Curto are great? The IG, Potter and Curto called what they did wrong, ” missteps”. What is a misstep? Between the two of them and Davis admitted at the end he was aware of the hiring of Mame Reiley for $180,000, they spent over $280,000 of MWAA money in violation of laws and MWAA policy. But they are “missteps”. The guy who took Super Bowl tickets, was that a “misstep”? He was fired. They guy who kept his relative on the employee benefits, was this a “misstep”? He was fired. The Procruement officer, he was shown the door too. Can they all claim ” “missteps” and challenge the firings because it was ok for Potter, Curto and Davis? This is a clown show. What I find amazing is LaHood, IG, Wolf, McDonnell are all singing from the same sheet of music. Why? Tis all smells of politics. I wish some investigative reporter would do a deeped dive here. Maybe the FBI will. Curto lied to Congress when he said he and Potter were the only ones who put the Mame Reiley deal together. I think lying to Congress will get the FBI involved now. Tom Davis tried to save face at the end of the hearing saying he was aware of the hiring but Curto said it was just him and Potter that did the deal. Which is it? Whe the snow melts you will see where all the terds lie. This is a political cover up and it’s leading right to all the elected officials door steps. Bacon needs to stay on this story.

  16. Score Sheet
    Michael Curto, Current Chairman
    *Hired kid to work at MWAA
    * Gave his wife’s law firm a $100,000 no bid contract
    * Participated in hiring a former Board member one day after she resigned for health reasons.

    Jack Potter, Current CEO
    * Claime he hired the former Board member one day after she quit for health reasons.

    * He never notified anyone of the hiring
    * He never did a press release
    * This highly compensated employee never attended one MWAA Board meeting after being hired.
    * 220 million in no bid contracts under his leadership
    * highest paid Aviation CEO in the United States but did not understand contracts needed to be competitively bid.
    * Approved Davis, Curto’s children to work at the Authority

    Tom Davis
    * Hired his daughter to work at MWAA
    * Was responsible for hiring the ex-board member for $180,000 in exchange for her Board seat.

    They are not former Board and staff people. They need to resign. How can they stay but the staff people that committed similar offences were fired? LaHood should demand they resign before any TIFIA funding can even be considered. Anything less would be a crime. He said the hiring of the former Board member was what sent him through the roof but he has not asked for them to resign. Does that make any sense? The Clown Show continues!

  17. Please review this video of the hearing before Congress and you be the judge if these individuals need to stay or go? Bob McDonnell says Potter is great. Congress does not share his opinion. Both Republicans and Democrats did not share his opinion. So the question is why is McDonnell not saying they did anything wrong? Just a few months ago he labled MWAA dysfunctional. Now they are great. WATCH THE VIDEO…..


    This was on the Washington Post site. Very informative!!

  18. I just tried the link and it worked. It took a few seconds to load.

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