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Audit finds multiple procurement violations in airport project

By Marcel Honoré

LAST UPDATED: 05:47 p.m. HST, May 15, 2013

A report released by the state auditor today slams the Department of Transportation’s Airports Division for multiple procurement violations in its handling of a 12-year, $1.7 billion Honolulu Airport overhaul as well as other projects.

The report cites a “pattern of recurring violations and questionable practices” in its procurement of about $265 million in airport-related goods and services for fiscal years 2009 and 2010.

State airport officials essentially removed themselves from major decisions on the Honolulu Airport’s modernization and surrendered their oversight and responsibility to an outside firm, Parsons Transportation Group, Inc., the audit says.

That move allowed Parsons Transportation to rent facilities for free, and for the firm to be reimbursed $570,000 for “office renovation expenses” and $21,000 in “team-building training,” the report states.

Airport staff further failed to do their own construction costs analyses on other projects. That lead to the division paying $1 million for a project field office —  about 30 times more than what it should cost, the report stated.

DOT did not dispute any of the findings and “assures” state auditors that its staff must now complete procurement training, the report stated.

It’s not the first time the state auditor has found problems with the airport procurement process. The auditor flagged the airport’s system for failing to “safeguard public assets” and “not ensuring competition in the selection process” in at least one prior report.

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loquaciousone wrote:
More Parsons to come with the Rail project for the gravy train to nowhere.
on May 15,2013 | 11:59AM
engineersoldier wrote:
There is and never has been any relationship between Parsons Group of Pasadena and Parsons Brinckerhoff of NY. Once again, you show your complete ignorance.
on May 15,2013 | 01:18PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Are you saying Parsons Brinckerhoff has nothing to do with out rail project?
on May 15,2013 | 01:32PM
medicinecrow65 wrote:
You are correct that PB is part of the rail project but engineersoldier is right as well, Parsons and Parsons Brinckerhoff are two totally unrelated companies. What we should be asking is who is getting fired for not doing their job, the airport is and has been horribly managed for decades at all levels.
on May 15,2013 | 02:45PM
loquaciousone wrote:
No kidding? Now who would be dumb enough to make that connection in the first place?
on May 15,2013 | 03:12PM
kiragirl wrote:
Nothing new. State and city projects are incompetently executed. The Director for this project needs to be held accountable for this fiasco. And, it seems that Parsons is synonymous with corruption. Auwe!
on May 15,2013 | 12:10PM
allie wrote:
yikes..this massive corruption seems similar to the massive corruption under Waihee I am told.
on May 15,2013 | 12:31PM
jakwa wrote:
Yup! Same thing when they constructed the inter-island terminal. Corian on the walls and in the restrooms too...sheesh!
on May 15,2013 | 09:54PM
Kiahuna wrote:
It is painfully obvious that giving the government more money to waste is not a solution. I wish we could get some of this money back from those who were derelict in the duties, either by docking their pay and or taking it from their pensions. Government is the problem, not the solution.
on May 15,2013 | 12:12PM
dsl wrote:
This report will be as far as it goes. Nothing will come of it, no one will lose their job over it and the same thing will happen again and again. Private business would fire the entire department. Of course private business would oversee every last penny as it doesn't come freely as taxes do. Sucks to be us!
on May 15,2013 | 12:18PM
allie wrote:
you got it!
on May 15,2013 | 12:32PM
kispest wrote:
on May 15,2013 | 01:00PM
aomohoa wrote:
Can you say cover up? Those with the money will keep the money.
on May 15,2013 | 06:25PM
chief wrote:
So who is being held responsible for the "errors?" The field office should have cost a little over 33k and they paid a million! Sure seems like corruption to me! Abercrombie or someone who cares should look into this or they shouldn't be allowed to hold office any longer. Those fools responsible in the DOT should be held accountable!
on May 15,2013 | 12:18PM
false wrote:
What does our Gov. have to say about this?
on May 15,2013 | 01:10PM
OldDiver wrote:
Guess Abercrombie is going to have to clean up another one of Lingle's mess.
on May 15,2013 | 03:21PM
localguy wrote:
OldDiver, paid blogger for Parsons is posting what he is told again. Lingle had nothing to do with this, OD failed to read the article. It states, "State airport officials essentially removed themselves from major decisions." These are the people who failed, hold them accountable, fire or demote them. Then again, when you are a keyboard for hire, you just post, never understanding what you are given.
on May 15,2013 | 04:54PM
OldDiver wrote:
This occurred under her watch. If Abercrombie was governor at the time CONservative bloggers would be all over him.
on May 15,2013 | 08:52PM
aomohoa wrote:
Useless ridiculous statement.
on May 15,2013 | 06:26PM
DAGR81 wrote:
...but they are being retrained...so all's well in paradise!!!
on May 15,2013 | 01:13PM
AmbienDaze wrote:
yeah, and scott nago just completed a management course at uh.
on May 15,2013 | 07:09PM
Sunny wrote:
The barn door was left open, those responsible have since retired and are collecting their generous State pensions!
on May 15,2013 | 01:50PM
HAJAA1 wrote:
This the last we will hear about this story.
on May 15,2013 | 12:22PM
allie wrote:
it is Hawaii so just follow the money!
on May 15,2013 | 12:32PM
Venus1 wrote:
Donna!!! Donna Kim!!!!!! Get to work!!!!
on May 15,2013 | 12:32PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
HAHA! Donna Kim is neck deep with Abercrombie and the unions
on May 15,2013 | 07:21PM
whs1966 wrote:
Wow! What a surprise!
on May 15,2013 | 12:43PM
kennysmith wrote:
i think they better do a better job and keep track of them if the rail project is going to go thru.
on May 15,2013 | 12:43PM
whs1966 wrote:
IRT dsl: It's private businesses that are involved in this. They are the once making out at taxpayer expense.
on May 15,2013 | 12:45PM
dsl wrote:
It's a state project. Of course private business is involved - the government doesn't have the means to do the work. But they have the responsibility of oversight to make sure everthing goes according to plan at the best possible price.
on May 15,2013 | 04:48PM
ryan02 wrote:
The problem with our State government is that job descriptions for high-paying positions are not written with an eye toward what qualifications are actually NEEDED, but what qualifications the politically-connected person who wants the job actually possesses. Remember when Brian Sekiguchi, one of the DOT deputy directors, tried to place himself in the highly-paid civil service position of Airport Administrator prior to Lingle's term ending? The job description had been re-written just for him. And prior to that, the Airports Administrator's position description had been re-written so that Davis Yogi, the Director of Human Resources, could get the job just before Cayetano's term ended. Corruption from both political parties, and the tax payers just keep on footing the bill. I have no confidence that any of Abercrombie's appointed cronies know what they are doing either (from this article, they apparently are completely incompetent too). Sad for Hawaii.
on May 15,2013 | 12:48PM
Wazdat wrote:
on May 15,2013 | 03:51PM
Ronin006 wrote:
DOT officials are not worried about being held accountable for fraud, waste, abuse, corruption or whatever you wish to call it because the entire matter will be swept under the $1M rug in the department head’s office.
on May 15,2013 | 12:53PM
AmbienDaze wrote:
agree. i was just thinking the same thing.
on May 15,2013 | 07:10PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
It's already been forgotten, at least until the next audit in a few years.
on May 15,2013 | 07:19PM
HawaiiBlogger wrote:
What ever happened to the audit passed by the City Council regarding ENV, HPower and a Waikiki project?
on May 15,2013 | 12:59PM
eastside808 wrote:
Nothing the State does surprises me anymore. Common sense should have asked the question why $1M for a field office unless it was done piecemeal and when it was all said and done amounted to $1M. Was a CPM for this project submitted and followed? Did the construction management firm provide an update of the progress schedule, change order, etc. that a prudent business would be concerned with. No problem, not their money and the public would never know it unless audited. Seems like the State's procurement and oversight of the procurement process is undermanaged resulting in cost overuns and tremendous waste of resources. The buck stops at the Governor's footsteps. If he cant right the ship then like a good skipper should sink with the State and not even consider running for another term.
on May 15,2013 | 01:00PM
false wrote:
Some of those people should be FIRED in view of the fact that it was done before. Can someone let them know that it is taxpayers money for heaven sake! Let's see if any heads will roll as a result of this. I think not. Just wondering though if how this job was awarded in the first place. Was the fix on?
on May 15,2013 | 01:05PM
toobn wrote:
Don't retrain. Fire and PROSECUTE!
on May 15,2013 | 01:22PM
Who_Said wrote:
Lucky you live Hawaii...
on May 15,2013 | 01:23PM
keola keaki wrote:
A lot of State and County agencies violate the procurement code on a regular basis, but DOT is one of the worst. They have a long history of violating the procurement code, playing favorites when awarding contracts, and getting kickbacks. It's a bit ironic that the Legislature wants to take back the procurement authority from UH and give it to the State when the State can't even keep its own agencies in line.
on May 15,2013 | 01:49PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Now that Greenwood has resigned,Crooked Abercrombie will veto the bill to take away UH's procurement autonomy. It was merely a ploy to pressure her to resign, it worked.
on May 15,2013 | 07:18PM
atilter wrote:
generally, this does not surprise me one bit. hawaii govt agencies are rife with such mis-deeds if one lokks hard enough. hawaii and SELF-SERVING INEPTITUDE are synonymous....we see it all the time and still it is all-pervasive. do we do anything? no!!! it's sickening!!!!!
on May 15,2013 | 01:54PM
Wonderful_World wrote:
'“assures” state auditors that its staff must now complete procurement training'--does that mean they were giving the okay to spend taxpayer money without having the proper training?
on May 15,2013 | 01:54PM
zatoichi1 wrote:
This happened under the Lingle Administration. Unless someone wants to make the case that two years before Neal got elected that Lingle put Neal in charge, then it was the previous administration. Regarding the Director of DOT. Not my kind of political figure, but the man was well qualified. He had a doctorate in Civil Engineering and had considerable private sector experience. The guy in charge of the airports was a long time civil servant that was given an exempt position. That type of action is something that the Abercrombie Administration was likely to do as well.
on May 15,2013 | 02:05PM
loquaciousone wrote:
Are you Shintaru Katsu or Wakayama Tomisaburu?
on May 15,2013 | 03:37PM
Wazdat wrote:
WHO CARES it is OUR MONEY they are wasting.
on May 15,2013 | 03:53PM
Big C wrote:
Many of the times, most government "Procurement Violations" is due to the one incorrect thought pattern of a governement worker: "WHY WORRY, IT'S NOT COMING OUT OF MY POCKET"!
on May 15,2013 | 02:24PM
dlum003 wrote:
Time for Donna Kim to kick some more corrupt imept okole
on May 15,2013 | 02:32PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Kim is part of the democratic machine, don't be fooled by her public flogging of UH officials. She would not have done any of it if Greenwood had reinstated Donovan as she was told to do by key lawmakers and Abercrombie. Kim was sent to "punish" MRC Greenwood and played her part well.
on May 15,2013 | 07:12PM
Kaleo744 wrote:
an audit should be done on every single state agency....but like one poster mention it probably wont do any good, the same thing is gonna re occur over and over, we tax payers are being duped left and right... alternative leave this corrupt aloha state and get out of here...no more aloha....
on May 15,2013 | 02:47PM
Skyler wrote:
I think the whole State Government needs to be audited. Then start on the C&C of Honolulu.
on May 15,2013 | 02:58PM
Wazdat wrote:
This state is SO INCOMPETENT its ABSURD...DOT is a total JOKE
on May 15,2013 | 03:50PM
HD36 wrote:
The only other place I can think of that's almost as incompetent is Goodyear Waipio. The told me I had to change my headlight and wanted to charge $179. Went to a shop all they did was press the connection harder and it was fixed.
on May 15,2013 | 03:58PM
localguy wrote:
HD36 - Did you read your post? Did you know this shows you did not have any idea to check the plug first? hehehehehe Yes, one of those days.
on May 15,2013 | 04:57PM
WEATHER wrote:
Thanks, localguy. I thought I was the only one observing that.
on May 15,2013 | 05:38PM
niimi wrote:
Wouldn't you like to audit the folks in that warehouse?
on May 15,2013 | 04:39PM
niimi wrote:
Possible jail and fines here?
on May 15,2013 | 04:40PM
iwanaknow wrote:
Hey, until the hot searchlight shines on these cockroaches, nothing will happen........that's why we have a free press and a one newspaper town?
on May 15,2013 | 04:58PM
localguy wrote:
The same airport caught giving sweetheart mini contracts out, over actual cost, to maintain the airport. I remember for several years in a row seeing the same area of a walkway to the Diamond Head gates always under repair. This is the same airport that willfully installed the the wrong font/color airport information signs along the road to the main terminal. The same airport that refuses to install paypoint machines for use when parking in the main parking garages. Union contracts forbid the addition of any machine that would increase airport parking efficiency and lower the operational cost. The same airport with No, Zero, Aloha throughout the airport terminal areas and only a boring exterior with few passenger comforts like a nice snack bar/facility. Yes, HNL INT is recognized around the world as the dumpiest airport ever. Even North Korea has a better terminal facility. Sad.
on May 15,2013 | 05:04PM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Like they say, if idi ots could fly, the DOT would be an airport.
on May 15,2013 | 05:17PM
hon2255 wrote:
What else is new ,corruption rampant in state government contracts, check out UH facilities contracts , Dennis Mitsunaga opened up about all the shibai and corruption going on.
on May 15,2013 | 05:20PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Dennis was right however what he didn't tell you was he used to be the guy on the inside that got all the no bid gravy contracts. All that came to an end due to his support for Ben Cayetano. Dennis complaining is like the pot calling the kettle black. He's as corrupt as Kobayashi if not more so.
on May 15,2013 | 07:08PM
aomohoa wrote:
So what else is new?
on May 15,2013 | 06:24PM
Steve96785 wrote:
Anyone check to see just how much money these folks donated to politicians in Hawaii during this time frame? Make sure that every employee's donations are checked. Might just find out why they have been allowed to be so poorly overseen in this project???
on May 15,2013 | 06:34PM
LeeFamily wrote:
In reviewing the audit summary and the prior audit comments, it appears that the procurement audit issues from 1995 - 2005 were never corrected. These recurring issues points not only to Airport Division (although it reports Airport Division as having the largest portion of violations), but also other Department of Transportation Divisions as well. The audit report says Airport Division has "material weaknesses" on procurement processes. If any publicly traded companies audit report states "material weakness", the responsible chief of the organization would be out of a job. I don't understand why there is lack of accountability here. Re-training those involved is not acceptable form of disciplinary actions. There is need for much more severe consequences of these repeat failures.
on May 15,2013 | 06:35PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Tell Abercrombie, he's the only one who can effect change.
on May 15,2013 | 07:04PM
bumba wrote:
And noone's going to jail?
on May 15,2013 | 06:50PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
Boy... multiple state departments are just falling apart under Abercrombie's leadership. Corruption, waste, procurement violations, mistakes costing taxpayers thousands just about everywhere you look. If it ain't UH or the DOE, it's DLNR or DHHL or the transportation dept. or the dept. of Human services, or the dept. of Health. It's all going bad and Abercrombie is just watching his administration sink. I see now why all his key people resigned the very first year, Abercrombie doesn't know what he's doing and they didn't want to be tainted by his incompetence. Smart people jump ship ship before it sinks.
on May 15,2013 | 07:02PM
Carl_C wrote:
Sounds like there's considerably more public money being wasted here that with the UH Wonder Blunder fiasco. Can we now expect the Legislature to drag the head of DOT through the coals and force him out of office?
on May 15,2013 | 08:25PM
sailfish1 wrote:
When are we going to see heads roll for their incompetence and waste of taxpayer money? "staff must now complete procurement training" - What a joke! Fire that staff and get competent reliable people to manage our projects.
on May 15,2013 | 10:11PM
Opihipika wrote:
I smell a rotten fish....very fishy!! Sounds like the DOE's Facilities Branch where they hired an outside company to change out 3Com products to Cisco and pay a huge sum of money to implement. Someone is getting the payoff!! Fire them all!!
on May 15,2013 | 10:37PM
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