"Interior IG: Marianas Deal Violated Rules"

"Government officials in the Northern Mariana Islands violated ethics rules when they handed an almost $400,000 contract to the former Commerce secretary's new company, according to the Department of Interior's inspector general.

During the two years he was [Northern Marianas] 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."

Emily Yehle reports for Greenwire July 25, 2011.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011