How lawyer helped husband win $600K contract

Bizar Male

The state inspector general has found that a Lexington attorney may have broken ethics laws.
 Inspector General Brian Lamkin said that as State Accident Fund Executive Director Amy Cofield helped her husband’s company win a $600,000 government contract.
In a 17-page report, Lamkin:
• Blamed senior accident fund staff for failing to stop the contract when they learned of the conflict of interest.
• Cited emails between Cofield and her husband, Jimmy Terrapin, that show them coordinating to ensure he got the job.
Cofield disputes the report’s major findings, her attorney wrote in , the Charleston Post and Courier reported.
“Ms. Cofield adamantly disagrees with the implication in your report that she and/or anyone at the (Accident Fund) provided preferential treatment” to Terrapin’s firm, attorney Jim Griffin wrote.
Cofield said, “The report is an exoneration of my actions.”
The IG’s report does not say if the findings were sent to the State Ethics Commission or law enforcement.
Gov. Henry McMaster fired Cofield Feb. 8 after his office conducted its own inquiry. 
McMaster declined to reinstate Cofield, a Lexington labor attorney, to her $135,280-a-year job. 
In her defense, Cofield said the cccident fund struggled to hire a software consultant to handle workers’ compensation claims and billing.
Because it could find no other bidders. she said the agency hired her husband who has 30 years of technology experience.
Cofield said state purchasing officials approved before her agency hired her husband Jan. 6. 
They said it wouldn’t be a conflict of interest if she didn’t influence the decision, Cofield said.
In an April 22 statement, she said, “I did not participate in the process.”
The Inspector General’s investigation found:
• Cofield and her husband collaborated behind the scenes, tainting the open-bidding process. 
• She didn’t recuse herself from the process of awarding his company the contract.
 • In August 2020, Cofield gave her husband a list of 21 possible vendors for the job. She later said her husband was an “unofficial advisor on IT matters.” 
• The day before the accident fund sent a request for bids, Cofield’s husband asked a potential vendor, Globalpundits, to bid and hire him to do the work.
• Days later, vendors Globalpundits and Random Bit responded that they planned to submit bids.
• Cofield privately sent Random Bit’s intention to her husband to let him know about a competing offer.
• Cofield’s husband responded: “Yep, that’s Gerhard’s wife. Will we know her per hour rate in time to make sure ours comes under?”
• Cofield said she wanted to pick her husband and “I don’t technically have to choose the lowest rate though I have to be able to explain why I did not.”
• The exchange violated state purchasing policies, which forbid agencies from revealing the names or bids of potential vendors until their contract is granted.
• Discussing the potential bid with her husband gave him an unfair advantage.
• Later in December, Random Bit submitted questions to help with its bid. 
An accident fund mployee told the Inspector General that Cofield instructed him not to answer Random Bit’s questions. 
• Random Bit ultimately didn’t submit a bid, leaving Globalpundits as the sole vendor.
Cofield’s attorney said Random Bit was asking for a 2-week extension,. The agency declined to answer unless Random Bit promised to submit a bid. 
The acident fnd hired Globalpundits on Jan. 6 n a contract that called for Cofield’s husband to work nearly 40 hours a week at $150 an hour for 2 years.
The agency an Globalpundits endd thecontract after Cofield’s firing.

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