A No-Bid, $10,000 per WEEK Contract for Protection Services? The Backroom Deals Continue
Updated: Apr 29
Despite all the promises, the lack of transparency continues in Harris County government. Today, 4-26-22, Harris County Commissioners Court will consider whether to award a $10,000 per week, no-bid "Executive Protection Services" contract to a relatively new, tiny (one-person?) company called "XMi Protection LCC" (see court agenda Item #201). Under the $121,524 contract, XMi Protection is to provide an unnamed county executive one bodyguard for 12-hours, 7-days-a-week, plus transportation (an SUV), for three months. Now, XMi Protection LLC was created by Mr. Cortez Richardson (a retired HUD investigator) just eight months ago and he doesn't appear to have a dedicated business office, website, or background in providing executive protection services. Also, there is nothing in the agenda item to indicate (1) why this contract was deemed necessary, (2) why it couldn't wait to go through the county's RFP competitive bid process, and (3) why XMi Protection was being awarded this contract instead of a larger, more experienced, more established firm. As it stands, this expensive, no-bid county contract appears to be just more backroom cronyism.
The backup documentation for Item #201 does state that Harris County is in the process of creating a formal RFP (Request for Proposals) for future executive protection services work. Gee. We wonder if tiny XMi Protection LLC, once given $121,524 in taxpayer seed money to hire/stage/train staff, gain experience, gain insider knowledge, and build up its credentials in a non-competitive (no-bid) environment, will then come back and bid in the upcoming RFP process to potentially win a multimillion-dollar executive protection services county contract. Anyway, the current no-bid contract doesn't pass the smell test. It might be very enlightening to learn who first proposed hiring XMi Protection LLC (Mr. Richardson), why XMi Protection was selected, and which county executive will be receiving XMi's protection services. Given the Elevate Strategies LLC corruption scandal, we sincerely hope this no-bid contract doesn't involve anyone inside County Judge Lina Hidalgo's Office (or the Judge herself).
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UPDATE 4/27/22: Well, so much for all that talk promising transparency, integrity, fairness, and safeguarding county taxpayer dollars. In a 3-2 party line vote yesterday, our Democrats on Commissioners Court approved the above no-bid contract. As it turns out, the contract handed to XMi Protection was specifically for County Judge Hidalgo. During the meeting, no one clearly explained why the Precinct One Constables Office couldn't continue to provide Judge Hidalgo with protection services, either indefinitely or until the county is able to award a contract through the RFP competitive bid process. In addition, no one explained why XMi Protection, and not any other company, was handed the costly, no-bid contract. Of note, no one on Court objected to Judge Hidalgo receiving protection services. The concern is with the backroom selection process and issuance of an expensive, no-bid county contract to a new, tiny, questionable company.
Given the scandal caused by the Elevate Strategies LLC contract, we hoped Judge Hidalgo and our other Democrats on Commissioners Court would go out of their way to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. Instead, they adamantly dismiss any scrutiny as "just politics" and continue to stumble into these matters. Frankly, their entitled, cavalier, dismissive attitude and apparent backroom cronyism (no-bid contract) will eventually cost Democrats votes in the upcoming general election, and we will have no one to blame but ourselves.
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