Friday, October 19, 2012

Republican Corruption in the Islands

During the two years he was secretary of Commerce, Michael Ada managed the commonwealth's grants and projects under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But last August, he told Gov. Benigno Fitial (R) that he intended to leave government, kick-starting discussions that led to the two developing a private contract for Ada's not-yet-formed company to manage the ARRA projects of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI).

Five days after Ada resigned as Commerce secretary, the government awarded the contract to his new company, Integrated Professional Services. Ada and his business partner did not obtain a business license until the next day; the day after that, the new company received a $78,418 check.

"Ada used information not generally available to the public for his own economic benefit. Only Fitial and Ada knew of the possibility of privatizing CNMI ARRA management until after they agreed to the framework of the deal," according to the report. "The ARRA management contract was never advertised, and the public did not know of the privatization of ARRA management until after IPS was awarded the contract."

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