The city council of Portland, Oregon, gave an $11.5 million energy contract to a left-wing company run by a woman who's been in prison twice for fraud — and city officials subsequently said they didn't know about Linda Woodley's disturbing history and placed the deal on hold pending an investigation, the New York Post said, citing a report by the Oregonian.
What are the details?
Portland officials wanted the contract — aimed at meeting the energy needs of low-income families — to go to an established company that happened to be 85% white, the Oregonian said, according to the Post.
Instead, the city council unanimously voted to give the contract to Diversifying Energy, a new nonprofit boasting black leadership and promising "equitable access to clean, sustainable energy" for "low-income communities and people of color," the Post said, citing the Oregonian.
Problem is that the 71-year-old Woodley — in addition to her time behind bars — has multiple bankruptcies and millions of dollars in fines for tax offenses on her record, the Oregonian said, according to the Post.
What's more, the Post, citing the Oregonian, said Woodley made up key elements in her contract proposal, such as that she "managed" a $30 million energy upgrade program in California.
Quite the feat considering the program doesn't know who Woodley is, the Oregonian added, according to the Post.
What did Portland officials have to say?
Portland officials said they didn't know about Woodley’s criminal history and that the contract with her company was being placed on hold pending a review, according to the Oregonian, the Post said.
“This is obviously shocking and distressing and sad news for us and the program,” Eden Dabbs, spokeswoman with the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, told the Oregonian.
Dabbs added that "we are going to have to take responsibility for the decision. We’ll absolutely be looking at this in terms of process and use it as a painful lesson not to let this ever happen again."
Here's more about Woodley from the Post:
Woodley — under her maiden name, Linda Leonard — was convicted of bankruptcy and tax fraud in 1997 following an investigation by the FBI that found she had diverted over $800,000 from the companies to her own use, the paper’s investigation showed.
She was sentenced to three years and a month in federal prison — then sent back to jail for six months in 2001 after confessing to more than a dozen probation violations, the paper noted.
Violations included fudging financial statements, securing prohibited loans to buy a home and repeatedly lying to her probation officers.
She has also faced a slew of huge fines for tax offenses, most recently in May in California with an $810,000 lien filed against her in Sacramento County for a failure to pay taxes, the investigation showed.
What did Woodley have to say?
Woodley told the Oregonian she "absolutely 100 percent" stands by her assertion that she managed an energy company that has no record of her — and that she's entitled to a second chance, according to the Post.
“People make mistakes,” she told the Oregonian, the Post said, in regard to her initial criminal conviction that she "had hoped ... was behind me.”
“I have worked very hard over the past years to be a good person, and I think that I am highly regarded in many circles in the industry,” Woodley added to the Oregonian, according to the Post.
The Oregonian said she didn't mention tax liens filed as recently as seven months ago.
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