Somebody owes Gary Glass an apology

Among the things I didn’t say at the Tuesday meeting but was prepared to:

I believe that the last time the Duluth News Tribune reported how much Johnson Controls would be paid for the Red Plan was 2007. June 19th to be exact. That’s just shy of seven years ago and here is what they said:

Representatives of the Duluth school district and Johnson Controls of Duluth said Monday that the amount of money the company will be eligible to receive for its role in teh proposed $257 million school plan was greatly overstated during a public panel discussion the day before:

…The multintional company will receive 2 percent of the project’s construction costs – about $4.5 million …according to its contract with the district…”

When I took JCI and the District to court we presented the contract which gave JCI better than 14%. But here is what Forum Communications columnist Ralph Doty told his readers three days before the election based on the faulty information the Tribune reported four months earlier:

The nastiest and most misleading campaigns are being led by Mr. Glass and Mr. Welty.

In addition to their bitter attacks on the Red Plan, Mr. Welty and Mr. Glass are viciously attacking Johnson Controls, the company hired by the school board to conduct exhaustive studies of every school building, and to organize hundreds of public community sessions to get input about their findings.

On June 17, 2007, at a meeting of the Duluth Heights Community Club, Mr. Glass criticized Johnson Controls for what he claimed would be a financial windfall (he called it a “plum”) for the company if it’s later hired to manage remodeling and construction of school buildings. Glass contended that Johnson Controls stood to get up to $33.4 million. The Duluth News Tribune reported on Mr. Glass’s comments the next morning.

“But Mr. Glass was wrong. So, the following day, June 19, the News Tribune published a front-page story of clarification. It turns out that Johnson Controls got $250,000 for the study and follow-up activities, and could possibly earn another $4.5 million for managing projects. Undeterred by the fact he was $28.9 million off the mark, candidate Glass continues his reckless attacks on Johnson Controls.

Doty had four months to correct Glass based on the other Forum Communications publication the Tribune. He chose to unload his buckshot three days before the election when there was no chance for a rebuttal.

Since the Duluth News Tribune has not, to my knowledge, asked anyone from the District what JCI really did earn from the biggest public school building project in state history since July of 2007 I’d really like that figure reported. I’ll probably be asking it myself soon at a Board meeting. Last I heard they said its 2 percent.

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