By Tom O’Connell
Cincinnati-based attorney Scott Greenwood, a highly paid consultant working on Albuquerque’s Department of Justice-enforced consent decree to fix the city’s broken police force, has failed to provide justification for expenses requested by City Councilor Ken Sanchez, according to a letter obtained by Burque Media.
The letter, dated May 26, 2016, is from Debra D. Yoshimura, director of the City of Albuquerque’s Office of Internal Audit, to City Attorney Jessica Hernandez. It details an audit requested in November 2014 by Sanchez that reveals Greenwood failed to provide invoices for some expenses, including for $1,469 for the period of July 2014 through March 2015. It also states Greenwood acknowledged that $1,606 in expenses from the period April 2014 through July 2014 should have been subtracted from his pay, but that it was not.
The letter requests additional documentation from Greenwood to support expenses occurring after March 31, 2015, and says Greenwood and the city attorney have failed to respond to numerous requests for documentation from the Office of Internal Audit.
“I suggest that you contact Mr. Greenwood and insist that he provide the invoices for the prior year (April 2015 through March 2016) so that the review of his invoices can begin,” the letter states.
‘Doctor’s Orders Not to Fly’
Greenwood and his partner, Tom Streicher, were paid an estimated half million dollars for their last billing as part of a no-bid contract, and may have earned close to $1 million in total so far. Many of the team’s expenses have been previously questioned by the media.
A November 2014 report by KRQE showed charges for margaritas at Church Street Café, beer at Rudy’s BBQ, a $100 pet fee at a hotel, plus expensive dinners and hotel stays. The station asked Mayor Richard Berry about Greenwood’s $2,900 expense he incurred driving to Albuquerque from Ohio, and the mayor responded, “He had doctor’s orders not to fly.”
But they’re not done yet. Their contract will expire on June 30, 2016, and it’s unclear whether the City Council will extend it.
All of this points to the broader issue of out-of-town consultants being paid big public money to fix big problems that taxpayers had nothing to do with.
$40 Million—but Wait, There’s More
Department of Justice police reforms cost cities big. At a press conference in October 2014, Mayor Berry estimated the city would be paying between $4 million and $6 million a year for five or six years to implement DOJ changes.
That’s in addition to the nearly $40 million Albuquerque taxpayers have spent since 2010 to resolve lawsuits against APD, including the $6.5 million paid to former Officer Jacob Grant after he was pumped with eight bullets by his own lieutenant during an undercover drug deal for a mere $60 of an intoxicant. And taxpayers will be footing the bills for Grant’s continued medical care for the rest of his life.
Dinelli: Services No Longer Needed
One former city official says Greenwood and Streicher’s services are no longer needed.
“Frankly, why would they renew this if the man is not justifying his expenses?” wondered Pete Dinelli, former chief deputy district attorney and chief public safety officer. “There’s really no continuing need for his services.”
“There’s no reason for them to continue their employment seeing as though the DOJ decree has been negotiated,” Dinelli continued. “They were hired for one thing only: negotiate the consent decree. It’s now being implemented and the monitor is now onboard. There’s no reason to continue with their services.”
So why is the pair still taking taxpayers’ money?
“I have no idea,” said Dinelli. “The auditor probably needs to question the administration as to whether or not they’re going to try to extend their contract. These are so-called experts, yet we had to hire a retired federal judge to help them draft policies—and frankly, I don’t know what they do for the city.”
Councilor Lewis: Suspected Taser Conflict of Interest
City Councilor Dan Lewis said he did not approve the contracts for Greenwood and Streicher because he suspected a conflict of interest in their alleged relationship with Taser International, which has had controversial contracts with the city.
“There’s reason to believe [Greenwood and Streicher were] on the payroll for Taser,” said Lewis. “Even though they said they haven’t, it’s pretty clear that they speak at conferences related to Taser. There are concerns with that relationship.”
Lewis said he was the first city councilor to request the Department of Justice come to Albuquerque, and the first to point at systemic problems at APD back in 2011, two years before the James Boyd shooting in the foothills.
“I was the one who called for the resignation of Chief [Ray] Schultz, and later he resigned,” said Lewis.
Lewis said the Council hasn’t yet seen a request for a contract renewal for Greenwood and Streicher.
“I don’t think there’s any kind of a desire by the Council to renew that contract,” said Lewis. “Obviously there’s a lot of skepticism on that contract, which is the reason for the audit in the first place…. I voted against that contract from the beginning.”