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Records show Speaker’s Sweetser landed sole-sourced state contracts worth $2.5 million last year

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sweetserSweetser, a non-profit social services agency and major Medicaid beneficiary, has received nearly $2.5 million from no-bid, sole-sourced contracts with the state of Maine.

House Speaker Mark Eves (D-North Berwick) serves as Director of Business Development for Sweetser and has been a prominent advocate for an expansion  Mediciad – an expansion that could increase Sweetser’s taxpayer-funded revenue stream by tens of millions of dollars.

The Speaker has also been a vocal critic of the LePage administration’s decision to enter into a no-bid, sole-sourced contract with Gary Alexander of The Alexander Group. But according to state records obtained by The Maine Wire, Eves’ opinion of no-bid contracts is altogether different when it comes to developing Sweetser’s business.

[RELATED: Emails raise questions on House Speaker's ties to major Medicaid expansion beneficiary...]

[RELATED: House Speaker will continue working for major Medicaid expansion beneficiary...]

sweetser speaker

The Sweetser Speaker

Eves and the Speaker’s Office did not return emails requesting comment on Sweetser’s no-bid contracts.

State records show that Sweetser landed the following sole-sourced contracts with the state last year:

  • $450,000 with the office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Services include “assertive community treatment” and “community integration”. That contract will not be sole-sourced in the future and is scheduled for an RFP in July of 2015.
  • $743,534 with the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Services include “self help” and “warm lines”.
  • $149,594 with the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Services include “psychiatric medication services” and “transportation”.
  • $1.13 million from the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Services include “Crisis stabilization – mobile response” and “crisis stabilization – residential facility”.

All told, Sweetser has received more than $2.475 million in no-bid contracts from the state of Maine for services beginning in July of 2013 and ending in June of 2014. Many of these contracts were negotiated during the 125th Legislature, when Eves was serving as the Democratic lead on the Health and Human Services Committee.

In June, The Maine Wire reported that Eves was advocating for a Medicaid expansion proposal that would significantly benefit his employer. In response to that article, Eves said he was no longer an employee of Sweetser and Sweetser CEO Carl Pendleton confirmed as much in a blog post on the non-profit’s website.

[RELATED: Sweetser Counselor to House Speaker: "I have seen significant abuse of TANF, SNAP...]

Subsequent investigation revealed that Eves returned to employment with Sweetser in July and was actively employed with the agency when he voted in the Legislative Council, in October, to allow his Medicaid expansion bill to enter the second regular session in violation of Joint Legislative Rules.

[RELATED: Lawmakers spar over Speaker's potential conflict of interest...]

A spokeswoman for the Speaker confirmed that Eves’ leave of absence is in effect only when the Legislature is in session. She denied any conflict of interest.

Records detailing Sweetser’s no-bid, sole-sourced contracts with the state can be viewed here: Sweetser.

Steve Robinson
Editor, Maine Wire
serobinson@themainewire.com

About Steve Robinson

Steve Robinson the editor of The Maine Wire. A native of Dexter, Maine, Robinson is a graduate of Bowdoin College.

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