The state inspector general has determined that a Lexington attorney may have violated ethics laws.
Inspector General Brian Lamkin said Amy Cofield, as executive director of the State Accident Fund, helped her husband’s company win a $ 600,000 government contract.
In a 17-page report, Lamkin describes:
• The senior employees of the Unfallkasse were accused of not having terminated the contract when they learned of the conflict of interest.
• Quoted emails between Cofield and her husband Jimmy Terrapin showing how they coordinate to make sure he gets the job.
Cofield denies the main findings of the report, wrote her attorney, reported the Charleston Post and Courier.
“MS. Cofield relentlessly contradicts the implication in your report that she and / or someone from the (Accident Fund) granted preferential treatment,” wrote Attorney Jim Griffin.
Cofield said, “The report is a discharge from my actions.”
It is not clear from the IG’s report whether the results were submitted to the state ethics committee or the law enforcement authorities.
Governor Henry McMaster fired Cofield on February 8 after his office conducted its own investigation.
McMaster declined to reinstate Cofield, a Lexington labor attorney, for her $ 135,280 per year job.
In her defense, Cofield said the Accident Fund had difficulty hiring a software consultant to handle claims for damages and employee billing.
Because it couldn’t find any other bidders. She said the agency hired her husband, who has 30 years of technology experience.
Cofield said state purchasing officials were approved before her agency hired her husband on Jan. 6.
They said there would be no conflict of interest if they didn’t influence the decision, Cofield said.
In an April 22 statement, she said, “I did not take part in the trial.”
The inspection by the General Inspector revealed:
• Cofield and her husband worked together behind the scenes, disrupting the open bidding process.
• She has not withdrawn from the process of awarding the contract to his company.
• In August 2020, Cofield gave her husband a list of 21 possible vendors for the job. She later said her husband was an “unofficial advisor on IT matters”.
• The day before the accident insurance company sent a request for a quote, Cofield’s husband asked a potential salesperson, Globalpundits, to bid and hire him to do the job.
• Days later, the providers Globalpundits and Random Bit replied that they wanted to place bids.
• Cofield privately sent Random Bits Intent to her husband to inform him of a competing offer.
• Cofield’s husband replied: “Yes, this is Gerhard’s wife. Will we know them in time by the hour to make sure ours goes down? “
• Cofield said she wanted to choose her husband and “I don’t technically have to go for the lowest price, although I need to explain why I didn’t.”
• The exchange violated government purchasing guidelines, which prohibit agencies from revealing the names or offers of potential suppliers until their contracts are awarded.
• Discussing the possible offer with her husband gave him an unfair advantage.
• Later in December, Random Bit submitted questions to help with its bid.
An employee of the accident insurance company told the inspector general that Cofield had instructed him not to answer Random Bit’s questions.
• In the end, Random Bit did not submit a bid, so Globalpundits is the only provider.
Cofield’s attorney said Random Bit asked for a two week extension. The agency declined to respond unless Random Bit promised to make a bid.
The accident set Globalpundits out on Jan. 6 under a contract that stipulated that Cofield’s husband would work nearly 40 hours a week at $ 150 an hour for two years.
The agency and Globalpundits terminated the contract after Cofield’s dismissal.
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