AG's office to assist WVU during rebid of media rights

By John O'Brien | May 15, 2013

MORGANTOWN – An advisor from state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office will help West Virginia University as it rebids the media rights for athletic events.

WVU issued its revised request for proposals on May 14, one month after Morrisey issued a report that said there were procedural problems when WVU granted its media rights to West Virginia Media and IMG College.

West Virginia Radio Corp. owner John Raese had raised concerns about the process. His company has long held the TV and radio rights.

The new process will include an adviser from Morrisey’s office, a new evaluation committee and a new procurement liaison and has a deadline of June 18.

“As you know, the Attorney General’s Office reviewed the initial RFP and found significant errors in the process and recommended the university rebid the project,” Morrisey said.

“This office is happy to provide assistance to the university as it moves forward with the revised request to ensure the process is as seamless as possible.”

Morrisey’s report was 24 pages long and listed five findings:

-The multimedia rights contract is revenue-generating and not required to be placed through a competitive RFP process under either the West Virginia Code or the West Virginia University Procurement Rules;

-Based upon the proposals and identified criteria, the record supports the university’s decision to invite IMG College to engage in negotiations for a contract;

-The procurement process utilized in the evaluation and selection of proposals was flawed, incomplete, and/or not in accordance with the RFP or the university’s procurement rules;

-(Board of Governors) chair Andrew Payne should have recused himself from any and all participation in this matter and improperly continued to receive information about the process; and

-BOG member David Alvarez did not adhere to the BOG operating procedure relating to conflicts of interest or recusal.

Raese’s complaints centered on Payne, who serves on West Virginia Media’s board of directors and held a major stake in it until last year, according to a February report in the Charleston Gazette.

“Payne should have disclosed his financial interest in WV Media and recused himself from voting, discussing and participating in the RFP process,” the report says.

Alvarez should have done the same because of his financial interest in WV Media Holdings, the report says.

Other errors listed in the report include:

-All Evaluation Committee Members were not afforded a timely opportunity to vote, leading to two of six members not voting;

-There was not strict adherence to confidentiality provisions of the RFP and university rules;

-Payne made public statements during the pendency of the process implying knowledge of the financial terms of the proposals despite lacking actual knowledge;

-The Procurement Office and a consultant did not properly document conversations with proposers or potential proposers; and

-The evaluation of the proposals did not conform to RFP criteria.

From the West Virginia Record: Reach John O’Brien at

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