- Hi, sir. Do you have any conflict of interests with Chinese LED manufacturers? Would you like to help us?
When last we peeked into Cleveland City Hall, Mayor Frank Jackson was jamming his proposal for a 10-year, no-bid deal with Chinese light bulb maker Sunpu-Opto through council while General Electric was counting the ways it’s getting shivved in the deal.
But another drama has been brewing over Peter Tien, the behind-the-scenes player who brokered the pact. At issue is Tien’s ever-evolving role: Shortly after the New Jersey-based consultant was credited with arranging the marriage, he revealed that he would be president of the firm’s Cleveland-based North American subsidiary.
(Note: The deal has since been nixed, probably because of this exact concern, though the city is being more vauge publicly:
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson on Monday killed a controversial, no-bid contract with a Chinese LED manufacturer because he thinks he "tainted" the process when he announced the deal in March while his staff was still seeking responses from other companies..)
This, to cities not hailed for their public-service crimes, is what’s known as a conflict of interest.
Tien was a no-show at the May 17 finance committee meeting where the deal was discussed. The mayor’s office said he was sick.