Did the Minneapolis Public Schools Hire a Company Before it Existed?

Could someone help me figure this one out?

The consent agenda item awarding Don Allen $15,000 for his horrible marketing pieces (hidden under the initials DWRA2) describes the contract like this:

DWRA2 contract to provide video production services to the Office of Communications for the period November 23, 2010 through June 30, 2011. The contract is late due to a misunderstanding of contract processes

But when I take a look at Don Allen’s LinkedIn page (you may need to be logged in to LinkedIn to see the full page), he states that he has only been a consultant under the name DWRA2 since January 2011:

Don Allen's LinkedIn Timeline for DWRA2

Which makes me wonder: How does an organization like the Minneapolis Public Schools decide to hire someone to do work before they’ve even come up with a name for their consulting firm? Who within MPS makes decisions like this?

It’s possible that Don Allen leaned on previous work experience during his unsolicited pitch in order to win the contract. One example of that might be Go Virtual Media. Don Allen appears to be the vice president of this organization. Actually, it looks like he is the Vice President of the umbrella group that includes Go Virtual Media called Virtual Global Media Group:

Go Virtual Media Don Allen

Here is how this organization Don Allen is involved with describes itself on its website (emphasis mine):

Virtual Global Media Group (Minneapolis/Toronto), LLC is a full-service, Internet Marketing, Advertising and Public Relations firm with in-house IT, graphic designers, media buyers, editors, pressrooms and a wide distribution network.

Were Virtual Global Media Group’s “in-house IT, graphic designers, media buyers, editors, & pressrooms” used to create the MPS videos?

Strangely, Don Allen’s LinkedIn profile makes no mention of Go Virtual Media or Virtual Global Media Group. In fact, Don Allen’s online resume at LinkedIn is extraordinarily truncated, with vague references to work done over the past 18 months. That’s it:

Don Allen's Self-Published Work History on LinkedIn

How does an organization like the Minneapolis Public Schools end up hiring a company before it exists?

3 thoughts on “Did the Minneapolis Public Schools Hire a Company Before it Existed?”

  1. Seriously. Ultimately, people need to read Sheila’s article, especially day 2, about how MSP hands out contracts.

    Then, climb the ladder, because that is how we hand out monies a local, state, and federal levels.

    Oh, similarly in corporations, but that needs a different posting, no?

    Bottomline…what are you gonna do about it?

  2. Ed, does DWRA2 even exist? I was just poking around the Secretary of State’s website, and I don’t see any reference to a DWRA2 that has been incorporated or registered to do business in the great state of Minnesota.

    If anyone actually has a copy of the contract, it would be interesting to see who the parties were.

  3. Is it a related question whether the prolific author Don Allen has penned or posted online any criticism of the schools, as he did before getting that contract? Of that kind, quality, and frequency?

    Has he?

    There is an appearance of a possible quid pro quo, although it would be speculation to presume one unless one side or the other to the fifteen grand contract were to acknowledge one to exist.

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