StimulatingBroadband.com 12/17/2010 San Francisco - Inspector General Todd J. Zinser of the U.S. Department of Commerce today disclosed his reasons for opening the first audit or investigation by a federal IG of any grant or loan award made under the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program of the Obama Administration. The disclosure is seen in a 3 paragraph memo just released to the media, and posted on a federal website, which also outlines the specifics points of the precedent setting inquiry.
The disclosure follows yesterday's news that Zinser's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) confirmed to press outlets that the controversial $50 million grant award to Motorola for the BayWEB wireless public safety project was the subject of an audit. As we reported yesterday, this is the first time in the nearly 2 year history of the program that such action by an IG has been publicly disclosed.
In his memo to Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence E. Strickling, Zinser stated that the OIG action was triggered by the letter of November 1 written by Dr. Jeff Smith, County Executive of Santa Clara County, California, and addressed to Zinser. Smith had asked for an investigation of the BayWEB award by the OIG, given that the grant was made by Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The IG states his auditors and investigators will be looking at 2 specific issues:
1. Staff of OIG will "examine the procedures followed by NTIA in reviewing the initial complaint from the County of Santa Clara and City of San Jose prior to preparing its October 1, 2010 response, and subsequent actions to look into the issue."
2. "Second, we will review the valuation of equipment provided as matching share by the grantee, in addition to the equipment being purchased from the grantee as part of the BayWEB project."
Notification to NTIA BayWEB
The BayWEB Examination is our compendium of information on the project. We believe it is the most comprehensive such collection available. We have assembled links to all media coverage of the issue, to online documents secured by us from confidential and open sources, to documents secured by others and by this publication under federal and state public records filings, and to our own published reporting.
Note on awardee identification: The project grant was applied for by, and subsequently awarded to, the entity Motorola, Inc., formally traded as (NYSE: MOT). Motorola, Inc. was split into 2 new and separate companies, which both began trading on January 5, 2011. The network infrastructure side of the business, all public safety equipment lines, and the network integration / management services divisions became Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI). We have retroactively re-tagged our BayWEB stories with the MSI ticker symbol. StimulatingBroadband.com