How much do Security Director Hellmuth and the Board of Education really know about the man who is advising MCPS how to spend millions of dollars to secure our schools?
Security Director Hellmuth was so impressed by Gompers that he hired him to select millions of dollars of video cameras and computer-based visitor tracking systems for our schools. Hellmuth had so much confidence in Gompers that he even disregarded the MCPS procurement procedures and state laws that require that competitive bids must be solicited for large purchases. Even the selection of Gompers, Inc. as the security consulting firm was made on a "no-bid" basis by Hellmuth.
Gompers' main published credential is that he has experience in the security industry. He has written several minimally-technical articles about security cameras and related equipment and is a frequent presenter at trade shows. Gompers' articles are typically followed by the following statement, or similar wording:
James Gompers is founder and president/CEO of Gompers Inc., which is made up of Gompers Technologies Design Group (GTD Group), Gompers Technologies Testing and Research Group (GTTR Group) and the Gompers Alliance. The Gompers Alliance pools talent from top consulting firms in the security, communications and data industries. He has more than 20 years of experience in the security industry.”Any résumé that Gompers gave Hellmuth would presumably have had much greater detail than provided above because Hellmuth let Gompers go right to work based on just a proposal that has never been signed by any BOE member or MCPS employee. (Perhaps, at some point, MCPS will be able to locate a contract that was signed by Nancy Navarro, who was the BOE president at the time that Gompers began providing his services.)
And what about those four business entities that Mr. Gompers runs? James Gompers lives in Illinois, and records from the Illinois Secretary of State (ISS) show that he has, indeed, registered four corporations and one LLC in his home state. What Gompers hasn’t done for several years, according to Illinois state records, is submit corporate tax statements for his companies. His failure to submit the tax statements led to involuntary dissolution of each of his companies.
Even though disqualified under Illinois law from operating as a corporation, Gompers, Inc. issued proposals and provided consulting services to MCPS, and accepted payments from MCPS.
According to Illinois state records, none of Gompers' companies are in good legal standing, so Gompers should not have been doing business under any of his (disqualified) company names.
Maybe that's why MCPS hasn't been able to produce copies of any ratified contracts between Gompers and MCPS.
But even without a ratified contract, the BOE approved payments of over $61,000 to one of Gompers' non-existent companies for consulting services.
What we still don't know, though, is why Gompers has not filed the corporate tax statements for any of his companies in several years. While that's an issue for Gompers to resolve with the state of Illinois, it would seem to raise enough red flags that perhaps the BOE should review the quality of services and independence of product recommendations that Gompers provided to MCPS.