The award of the Maid of the Mist boat ride contract this week was a major victory against government corruption.
While I remain deliriously happy that there is a new boat operator coming to Niagara Falls, I do need to keep you informed that there are problems.
It is beginning to smell like the process conducted after the corruption house cleaning was not fair and proper. As I have said for years, the fundamental problem is dishonesty. I challenge the Government of Ontario to prove that this latest process was an honest one.
I have now spoken with people who attended the press conference. Please note the following:
I understand that a big deal was made out of the amount of money that Hornblower guaranteed to The NPC over the first five years. Based upon the amount quoted and conveyed to me by the person in attendance, I have received a document that shows that at least one other bidder guaranteed millions more over the first five years.
It has been publicized that the Hornblower deal will pay $500 million to The NPC over the 30-year term. While that is fantastic at $413 million more than Jim Williams, John Kernahan, Archie Katzman & Crew approved and claimed was such a great deal, it is FAR from the highest bid. I have received information from a Deep Throat source that shows that one of the bidders submitted a bid that would have paid right at $700 million.
50 of the points used to determine the winner were allocated to the amount of money that The NPC would receive. A $700 million package got 50 points. A $500 million package would get that percentage of the best offer — $700 million. So, Hornblower would get 71.4% of 50 or 35.7 points. This means that the high bidder would have had a 14.3 point advantage going into the other graded criteria. One would think that should have been an insurmountable lead.
It has now been reported by several media sources that the winning bid includes a restaurant and observation tower built in the Gorge. Section 126.96.36.199 of the Request for Proposals clearly states that no food and beverage is allowed in the bid. Answers to questions presented by bidders were that bids should not include anything to be built in the Gorge as it would not be allowed. Yet Hornblower was allowed to include a restauarant and facilities built in the Gorge.
So, it appears to me that the high bidder lost and that enhancements that were specifically denied to other bidders were allowed so that Hornblower would win.
I LOVE HORNBLOWER, but to me, this has always been about fairness and the elimination of corruption from the process. There was to be an open and honest process, and this one was not. The way the RFP was handled stinks of wrongdoing. The process should have been wrapped up within a few months after the bids were received, but it took 13 months. The terms of the RFP should not have changed repeatedly. The point system should not have changed late in the game in what appeared to be designed to try to block the best financial bid from winning. The rules for the RFP were obviously different for Hornblower than they were for other bidders who were denied the ability to include elements that The NPC is praising in Hornblowerâ€™s bid.
I ask the government to investigate. I also filed a FIPPA request last February seeking all of the bids and communication with bidders. Howard Grant asked me to wait until the winner was announced. I waited, but now I want those documents ASAP. I did not sign a non-disclosure, and I will release everything that I learn to the media and the public.
I do plan to file a lawsuit against The NPC for denying me the right to bid because I refused to sign an agreement stating that I would not have the right to sue them if I participated in the bidding process. This is clearly illegal.
Any serious bidder had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their bid. One reports spending over $1 million. It seems to me that all of those people may have been defrauded.
On another note, it appears that the existing operators, Christopher Glynn and James V. Glynn, may not operate in Ontario for the next two years. Their plan may be to try to get all of the business to the U.S. side. The State of New York pays the Glynns in the ultimate sweetheart deal, so they can make far more money operating from New York State Park. This stinks, but it is nothing less than I would have expected. I know that at least one unsuccesful bidder provided a contingency for such a development that would have ensured that service would not be disrupted.
The Glynns are absolutely in violation of their New York contract, so the State of New York must now tender for bids.
For the latest news reports, see the links at the bottom of this story — https://www.lawlessamerica.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=693;windsor-wins-in-canada-corruption-out-and-new-boat-ride-operator-named&catid=34;corruption&Itemid=216
I love Hornblower. My criticisms continue to be directed at The NPC. I fear that this is the sham that I was afraid it was going to be.
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