"Vendor 1" in the Former Police Chief Tim Vasquez Indictment was a Prolific Political Donor Elsewhere, Too
SAN ANGELO, TX — The radio company identified in the federal indictment of former San Angelo Police Chief Tim Vasquez is a prolific political donor in San Antonio, records show. In San Angelo, the FBI accused Vasquez of receiving $130,000 in payments from “Vendor 1” to his band, Funky Munky. The vendor was awarded $13 million total in two radio contracts with the City of San Angelo.
From matching news reports from 2015, we learned that the FBI’s “Vendor 1” was San Antonio-based Dailey and Wells Communications, Inc. that received a no-bid contract for a $5.7 million contract to upgrade to the existing public safety communications network. The FBI alleges Vendor 1 made higher-than-normal payments to Vasquez’s band called Funky Munky and in exchange, Vasquez lobbied the San Angelo City Council to approve two radio deals, one in 2007, and the second in 2015, for a combined amount of $13 million.
Dailey and Wells Communications is a vendor for the Harris brand radios. In public safety circles there are two competing brands, Motorola and Harris. When Vasquez advocated for Harris, he cut out the local vendor for Motorola, Texas Communications. Texas Communications Vice President, and general manager of the San Angelo office, Charles Wojtek has never been a fan of Vasquez.
In San Antonio, the city council there tackled the Harris versus Motorola question, too. In 2018, the San Antonio City Council approved an $108 million contract to install Harris equipment for a combined City, Bexar County and electric utility public safety communications system. Dailey-Wells was the selected vendor.
The City of San Antonio utilized a selection committee and a scoring system of the two vendors that included hiring a consultant for $96,000 to test Harris and Motorola radios. Harris and Dailey-Wells won the contest, news reports at the time noted.
Yet, firefighters expressed concern about the Harris radios. According to the San Antonio Express-News, the Motorola radios tested better under harsh firefighting conditions — as in having a better ability to transmit and receive from inside a burning building. The rank and file fo the San Antonio Fire Department was in favor of the Motorola solution.
“Chris Steele, the president of the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association, has told the San Antonio Express-News that firefighters have long had problems with Harris radios in the field and underscored the importance of having radios that function well in the harsh conditions firefighters find themselves,” reported the Express-News in February 2018.
In San Antonio, contributions to politicians and political advocacy groups that can be attributed to Dailey-Wells are plentiful. The Express-News reported that Jo Anne Wells, the wife of Dailey-Wells president Richard Wells, gave Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar a $25,000 campaign contribution in December 2016.
The City of San Antonio’s online records database only reported contributions to City politicians as far back as late-2018. Richard Wells has donated $13,500 to City of San Antonio political campaigns since November 2018. His wife, Jo Anne, has donated $12,500 more during the same timeframe.
More significantly, Dailey-Wells touts its giving on their website. Dailey-Wells donated $150,000 in 2018 to the San Antonio Police Officers Association’s “Blue Cares” Community Outreach Program and sponsors the annual Blue Santa Charity Golf Tournament and a breakfast for the charity that raises millions each year. The Express-News reported in 2018 that Dailey-Wells touted that the company contributed $250,000 to Blue Cares in 2016.
Who selected the members of the vendor selection committee was a concern for the Motorola side of the contest. How much did the charitable giving to the SAPOA projects influence that?
In the end, Dailey-Wells and Harris won the contract when Bexar County approved the deal in March 2018. The Bexar County Commissioners were told choosing the Motorola solution would cost the city and county governments, along with the electric company there, an additional $12 million to make the switch to Motorola, according to the Express-News.
San Angelo has a Blue Santa program and a myriad of political candidates, to include the police chief candidates, to give charitable donations and political cash. We could not find one Dailey-Wells connected contribution to Tim Vasquez’s campaign in 2016. The question is, if the FBI allegations are correct, why did the radio company, with a track record of transparent political contributing in San Antonio, choose to give all its donations here to a cover band named Funky Munky instead?
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