Did a company bidding to monitor the New Orleans Police Department’s federal consent decree misrepresent the employment status of a local narc now under fire for possible ethics-law violations?
The company says it didn’t.
But in its bid, currently being reviewed by the city and U.S. Department of Justice, KeyPoint Government Solutions indicated a half-dozen times that Jimmy Fox III was no longer employed as special agent in charge of the New Orleans division of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.
As of today, Fox is still employed by the Drug Enforcement Administration, a DEA spokesman confirmed.
KeyPoint is one of a dozen outfits from around the country seeking to win the contract to monitor the consent decree that is meant to bring the New Orleans Police Department into compliance with 21st-century criminal-justice norms.
KeyPoint offered to do the job for a maximum fee of $9 million, spread over four years.
In June, Fox formed Fox Security Systems LLC, which was subsequently named as KeyPoint’s disadvantaged-business partner in fulfillment of a requirement in the request for proposals issued by the city last year.
KeyPoint’s proposal said Fox would be guaranteed at least 35 percent, or just over $3 million, as the Deputy Monitor/Liaison to Parties.
All this activity occurred while Fox was employed at the federal agency.
The Times-Picayune noted recently that federal ethics law requires a “cooling off” period of up to two years before a former federal employee can go to work for a company doing business with the federal government.
Curiously, nearly every mention of Fox in the KeyPoint proposal referred to his work in the past tense, indicating that he had already left his government job.
· “Jimmy Fox III was employed by the U.S. Department of Justice as Special Agent, DEA, from 1987 to 2012.”
· “He directed strategic planning…”
· “Mr. Fox actively promoted public awareness programs…”
· “Directed the New Orleans Division Federal Narcotics Investigations…”
· “Directed New Orleans Div Strategic Planning…”
· “DEA Special Agent in Charge of New Orleans Division; responsibilities included continuous organizational performance review.”
· “Conducted audits and inspections at DEA offices…”
In the one instance where Fox’s government job is not described in the past tense, the KeyPoint proposal is a little fuzzy on what his current job is and under what circumstance he would leave it. The proposal then immediately implies that he left the DEA:
· “Mr. Fox has twenty-five years of career leadership and professional investigative experience with the Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), marked with steady promotions…. Currently, Mr. Fox is on the Board of Trustees for the YMCA and the New Orleans Red Cross. (Note: Mr. Fox will retire from his current position upon contract award.)
“As Special Agent-in-Charge of the New Orleans Division from January 2009 – 2012, he provided pivotal leadership…”
KeyPoint President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Schlanger said he could understand the confusion caused by use of the past tense to describe Fox’s role at the Drug Enforcement Administration — but that any misrepresentation of Fox’s employment status was not deliberate.
“In the proposal, we believe that it was clearly stated that Mr. Fox would retire from his current position upon contract award,” Schlanger said, citing the passage in parentheses quoted above.
“The remaining references were perhaps inartfully drafted,” Schlanger added, “but certainly with no intent to mislead anyone, as we believe no one could possibly be misled in the end about Mr. Fox’s employment status.”
Terry Davis, a spokesman at the local Drug Enforcement Administration office said that as of today, Fox “has not left the DEA.”
Fox was unavailable for comment, said Davis, since “the issues you raise are under review by the Department of Justice.”
Schlanger says the ethics-breach allegation is groundless, from KeyPoint’s perspective.
“The rules which are promulgated by the Office of Government Ethics clearly indicate, at least from our reading, that the [Drug Enforcement Administration] is deemed a separate agency from the Special Litigation Section of the Department of Justice, which is dealing with the monitorship,” he said. “And as such there would be no problem with Mr. Fox, upon his retirement, working on the project.”
The Justice Department declined to discuss the ethics review now underway.
“This matter is currently under internal review and I cannot comment further,” Justice Department spokesman Michael Rothermund said from Washington, D.C.