The influence of private prison industry in Arizona is well documented. Even though they will be publicly run, the companies slated to design and build a proposed 500 new maximum-security prison bed – to the tune of $50 million of public funds – have ties to the private for-profit prison industry that are all too obvious.
Both JE Dunn and DLR Group, the construction and architecture firms contracted for this prison expansion, have worked on recent projects for Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), including CCA’s La Palma Correctional Center in Eloy Arizona. JE Dunn’s contract bid packet even included a letter of recommendation from CCA regarding the construction of the La Palma Correctional Center:
Clearly, CCA’s influence still carries some weight in this state.
Incidentally, Buddy Johns is now the CEO of CGL, an affiliate of Hunt and competition for JE Dunn. Burn!
There’s probably no need to remind our readers of CCA’s ties to the Governor’s office (but we will anyway). As Beau Hodai first reported for In These Times, Brewer’s former Chief of Staff Paul Senseman lobbied for CCA in Arizona both before and after his stint on the 7th Floor. And her “advisor” Chuck Coughlin runs a consulting firm that also lobbies for CCA.
And as Phoenix New Times has reported, the corporation has donated major cash-ola to Brewer’s re-election campaign and her pet project of 2010, Prop 100 (sales tax increase).
“In all, seven executives with the Tennessee-based private prisons giant Corrections Corporation of America contributed $980 for the governor’s start-up fund with Arizona’s clean elections system. A warden for one of CCA’s Arizona prisons gave $100. A CCA shareholder gave $140.
Lobbyists listed with the state of Arizona as having CCA as a client gave another $560, for a total of $1,780. In addition, CCA has contributed a whopping $10,000 to the campaign for Prop 100, the one cent sales tax heavily promoted by Brewer…The success of Prop 100 is considered by many to be the linchpin for a Brewer victory in November.”
It just so happens that CCA got a contract to house up to 2,000 Arizona prisoners, starting in 2014. So, no conflict of interest there.
Here’s another similarity between JE Dunn and CCA: They don’t like to pay for things. One requirement of the RFP is to include a 5-year history of settled litigation and arbitration against the company. The list includes seven “pending matters” and 38 settled suits. One recurring theme was the phrase “filed suit against JE Dunn to collect amounts the plaintiff contended it was owed.” There were also a couple claims of “unjust enrichment.” There were 19 such suits between 2007 and 2012, exactly half of those reported in the bid documents.
The Joint Committee on Capital Review (JCCR) will review the request for $50 million to build 500 more maximum-security beds this Wednesday, June 12th, at 9:00 am. The JCCR has the option to give the proposal an “unfavorable review.”
Chair: Sen. Don Shooter firstname.lastname@example.org ; (602) 926-4139
Vice-Chair: Rep. John Kavanagh, email@example.com; (602) 926-5170