Fitial Administration: "Not Privy to Knight's Employment with MAI"

October 12, 2010

The Marianas Variety reported today what Unheard No More! reported earlier this week -- that Fitial lobbyist Lynn Knight is a project manager for Management Analysis, Inc., the company that was awarded the DOI grant to conduct a desk audit of the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Department of Public Safety.

So what does the Fitial Administration have to say about this? The Variety reported:
Press Secretary Angel A. Demapan said the administration was not privy to Knight’s professional involvement with MAI.

He said it should be noted that when the contract for the desk audit was solicited, the government had a selection panel that “conducted a comprehensive and thorough analysis of the proposals submitted by interested businesses.”

Demapan said Knight had no involvement with the affairs of the CNMI government or MAI that “would pose any cause to believe that she had any attempt to influence the awarding of the desk audit review contract.”

The firm, Demapan said, was awarded the contract based solely on the recommendations of the selection panel.

He said Knight had no involvement in the affairs of the CNMI government during the entire period that MAI was conducting its desk audit review on the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs and the Department of Public Safety.

Whether she may have a professional affiliation with MAI in their other business ventures in the U.S. or other jurisdictions was information not known to the CNMI government, Demapan said.
Demapan claims that the firm was awarded the contract based "soley on recommendations of the selection panel." Who was serving on this panel?  Was this a sole source contract?

The Fitial Administration was not privy to that information? Really?  Lynn Knight attended both the May 2009 and May 2010 House hearings in Washington DC. She sat with her good friend, Deanne Siemer.  Governor Fitial was at both hearings and was speaking with Knight. Surely while in Washington he met with her outside of the hearing and possibly he met with MAI president Arthur Smith and manager Sergio Loya at the same time.  After all, the CNMI's Commonwealth Economic Development Commission hired the Virginia-based company as consultants before the DOI contract was even awarded.

In April 2009, Governor Fitial gave opening remarks at the 2009 Economic Restoration Summit  that was held in Saipan.  It was attended by Knight, MAI president Arthur Smith, and MAI manager Sergio Loya.  In fact, since Knight left the CNMI, first as a lobbyist for the Fitial Administration, and later as his "representative" in Washington DC, (guess he forgot the CNMI had a Congressional Delegate) her named has been repeatedly linked with Management Analysis, Inc. It is extremely hard to believe that the governor did not know that Knight worked for MAI.

Also, in April 2009, the DOI sponsored a "Business Opportunities in the Islands" conference in Hawaii. On the CNMI panel at that conference was Lynn Knight, chair of the Commonwealth Economic Development Commission,  former Secretary of Commerce Michael Ada, and Arthur Smith president of Management Analysis, Inc.

In October 2009 the Lt. Governor stated that a $300,00 desk audit was "in the works":
The identity of the off-island firm being selected to conduct the desk audit has yet to be disclosed, along with the members of the team evaluating the proposal and the contract.
In March 2010, Fitial met also with Knight in Washington DC. Was the desk audit discussed during that trip?  In May 2010 it was announced that MAI was awarded the desk audit contract, and work had begun.

Demapan wants the public to believe that the governor had no clue that Knight worked for Management Analysis, Inc. Believe that, and you might as well believe that the governor had a federal prisoner released from jail to give him a massage. Oh wait -he did.


Anonymous said...

Wendy, you are out of line and unfortunately, you are being used in a larger political game. This is the only time I'm going to respond, just for the record.

The whole point of DOI's "Business Opportunity" conferences is to
encourage networking and commerce in the territories. Like so many
other businesses, MAI took the initiative to come to the conferences, and yes, that is where I first met people from the company and where they met a whole host of other well-intentioned people who were there to promote the CNMI. I attended these conference as part of my
own volunteer work.

Since the 1990's, MAI has done business in the region. When there
have been opportunities, they have bid in open competitions for
several projects that were advertised to the general public. This was before my time with the firm. The company was selected for a couple of projects in the CNMI because of MAI's 34 years of qualifications and experience.

I am proud to be associated with MAI and also to serve the CNMI
wherever I can be of assistance. However, I was not the project
manager, nor was I a member of the project team for the recent
organizational reviews as you have speculated.

I am not a lobbyist. I have supported education and outreach through largely volunteer work that is all about finding more help and resources of any type to lift the islands out of this devastating economic crisis. As a resident for more than 20 years, and as someone who has children who were born on Saipan, I will continue to use whatever knowledge I gained in the islands to try to help. The islands need as many people as possible from many walks of life to pitch in and help.

You have always claimed you were fighting for those who didn't have a voice. You do not need to tread on others to do what you think is

Lynn Knight

Anonymous said...

Lynn's comment is not responsive to any of the points made in Wendy's post. That's the Fitial & Co strategy: when cornered, change the subject.

Wendy said...

Lynn, thank you for your comment. I answered your comment above due to space limitations in the comment section.