By Mike Kruzman /

The director of the state health department will testify Thursday on a no-bid contact tracing contract following an investigation that a local lawmaker says turned up “red flags."

At State Representative Ann Bollin’s request, the Auditor General’s Office has shown in a review (posted below) that Great Lakes Community Engagement was the only firm considered for the COVID-19 contract tracing project by Govern Gretchen Whitmer’s administration. GLCE is connected to K2K Consulting and Kolehouse Strategies, which are political consulting companies operated by Donald Kolehouse.

The issue originally came to light in April by Republican Livingston County Commissioner Wes Nakagiri after he had volunteered to help with contact tracing, but noticed that the software company EveryAction VAN, which was chosen to manage the data, had several connections to Democratic candidates, including Whitmer. Whitmer, soon after, canceled the contract, calling it an “unnecessary distraction.” The Auditor General’s Office now reports that Kolehouse’s role in the development of the work plan was uncommon. According to the investigation, he sent the state health department what he could offer to them in an unsolicited statement of work. The health department then turned that into an official workplan. The Auditor General’s Office notes that it is not typical for a vendor to develop the scope of work.

In a release, Bollin said, “There are clearly some red flags here. Thankfully, this contract was terminated after the partisan political ties became public, and no public tax dollars were awarded to the governor’s political consultant. The bigger issue it that we clearly have flaws in the system that allowed this to happen. Are there other no-bid contracts that have been awarded to political operatives because the normal procedures for bidding out contracts have been thrown out the window during the state of emergency? I will fight to find the truth.”

MDHHS Director Robert Gordon intends to testify Thursday about the contract before the legislative Joint Select Committee. Prior to his testimony, the department has no official response.

The Representative said she now wants to know if other no-bid contracts have been awarded to political operatives during the state of emergency. Bollin thanked the Auditor General for the initial and continuing investigation on the matter.