Clark Penney, the grandson of Bob Penney, was awarded a $441,000 sole source contract for economic development with the State of Alaska, according to documents obtained by the Alaska Landmine through a records request. The contract was issued by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA). It is a Reimbursable Service Agreement (RSA) from the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development.
The initial contract is for $44,000, which expires on 9/30/2019. The sole source waiver request authorizes a total of $441,000 over 40 months. Here is the contract and procurement waiver:
Bob Penney, along with Dunleavy’s brother Frances, was a major donor to Dunleavy for Alaska, an independent expenditure group that supported Mike Dunleavy in his bid for governor. Bob Penney contributed over $350,000 to the group. The below article provides more background on that (Penney donated additional money after this article was printed).
The contract is for economic development work on something called the New Industry Development Team. Governor Dunleavy announced this in his State of the State address. It’s a team to market Alaska to the world. This is the only reference I could find online about it.
Here is the scope of work in the contract:
The sole source justification waiver states four reasons for why the contract was not put out to bid. The first reason cites Penney Capital, Inc. as having “extensive experience in connecting investors with opportunities in new businesses and industry development.” What’s interesting is, according to the business license, Penney Capital was formed on 3/15/2019, not even two months ago.
According to his bio on the website of Cypress Wealth Services, Clark Penney does have a financial management background.
Clark Penney serves as a Partner and Senior Financial Advisor with Cypress Wealth Services. As a financial advisor, Clark focuses on capital preservation and income accumulation. Clark’s career in financial services began at Merrill Lynch in 2008 and spent six years with The Cypress Group at Morgan Stanley. He was most recently a Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor with the Cypress Group at Integrated Wealth Management from 2014 to 2017. Before his career in financial services, Clark worked as an intern on the energy and defense committees with the U.S. Senate in Washington D.C. and with the president pro tempore. Clark received his Bachelors of Science degree in Business Management and minor in Economics from Southern Oregon University, where he founded the Golf Club. Born in Alaska, Clark enjoys skiing, golf, and dog training.
I left two messages for Clark asking for comment about the contract. I have not heard back from him yet.
Another interesting connection is the address Clark Penney used on his business license. The address, 3620 Penland Parkway, is the same address Bob Penney used for his donations to the group Dunleavy for Alaska.
The contract was signed by Tom Boutin, the CEO and Executive Director of AIDEA. Both Boutin and Clark Penney were listed as deputy treasurers on Mike Dunleavy’s campaign. That can be seen here.
Clark Penney also worked on the Dunleavy campaign. On 11/20/2018, Clark Penney was paid $10,000 from the Dunleavy campaign for “Consulting Fees.”
The State has strict procurement rules about when and how sole source contracts can be issued. AIDEA is subject to this procurement code, meaning it must comply with strict requirements contained in AS 36.30.300 before awarding sole source contracts.
This isn’t the first time questions have been raised about the Dunleavy administration issuing sole source contracts. Recently, the administration came under scrutiny for an emergency sole source contract to manage the Alaska Psychiatric Institute. It was granted to a company called Wellpath. A lawsuit about the contract was filed by the Alaska State Employees Association. Soon after, Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum announced they would be ending the contract.
AIDEA’s sole sourced contract may be permitted by AS 36.30.300, but given the close relationship between the Penney family and the Dunleavy Administration, the public deserves to know about the contract and for it to be scrutinized to ensure that it is legal.