In Alameda County, California, Corizon Correctional Healthcare is facing questions regarding campaign contributions to County Sheriff Greg Ahern. While investigating two inmate deaths at Santa Rita jail, in Alameda County, television station, KTVU-2 uncovered public documents, which shows Ahern accepting $110,000 in campaign contributions during 2006-2013 from Corizon. The Corizon contract with Alameda County, worth $237 million, is the counties largest contract and Corizon was Ahern’s largest campaign donor.Corizon contributed to Ahern’s campaign fund despite the sheriff running unopposed in his reelection bids. Ahern defended the contribution by indicating that he used the money to fund a golf tournament to raise money for the sheriff’s deputy’s health and welfare fund. Corizon wasn’t alone in funding the sheriff’s unopposed campaign bids. Aramark, the food service provider at the jail, donated in excess of $11,500 from 2008-2009. In addition, two companies bidding for video services at the jail also donated a total of $20,000 to Ahern’s campaigns.After the three-year contract expiration in 2011, the company was awarded consecutive one-year no- bid renewals at the recommendation of Ahern. In a no-bid contract renewal, Ahern has continually recommended Corizon since 2011 despite the company’s performance problems at the jail and the large contract. Corizon was awarded the original contract for the jail in 2008. Additionally, the county board approved a three-year no bid extension upon the recommendation of Ahern that continued the contract to 2016. The county’s administrative code mandates that contracts in excess of $100,000 must undergo a bid competition. However, the county waived the bidding procedure and awarded Corizon the three-year renewal based on the recommendation from Ahern, thereby turning a three-year contract into an eight-year contract without competitive scrutiny.
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