City Government

“Rock Star” Contract Costly To Boise Taxpayers

Moshe Safdie pitches Power Point presentation at JUMP meeting.


Great research and reporting by Don Day at BOISEDEV on the Rock Star contract Boise citizens have to pay the proposed library architect for upscale travel.

Following up on the GUARDIAN story about Boise Mayor Dave Bieter’s “Team Dave” agreeing to make first class payments for architect Moshe Safdie to travel and stay in Boise, Boise Dev reveals improper payments to Safdie’s staff prior to even having a contract. Spokesman Mike Journee admitted the contract was unique. He also said the city would seek reimbursement for the travel payment made for a Safdie associate prior to the contract, but added it was made because, “The Safdie team was seen as the likely selection…”

Boise Dev revealed A March 15th project kickoff meeting in Boise included Yoon, Moshie Safdie, principal Greg Reaves, Nico Kienzl of sustainability consultant Atelier Ten and library consultant Nancy Tessman, all of whom traveled to Boise from various locations around the country. It also included local members of the CSHQA team. Altogether, this meeting cost taxpayers more than $10,000, including:
— Dinner at Leku Ona for seven people, including three bottles of wine – $453.07
–First class airfare for Moshie Safdie – $2,956
(Safdie’s expense report notes that a Boston to Boise flight was canceled. This prompted a new ticket issued at the last minute for $1,371. The new fare replaced a business class trip with a ticket that was first class on the first leg and economy class from Minneapolis to Boise).
–Two “team lunches” billed by CSHQA by Cafe Zupas, including delivery fees – $517
–Hotel nights for Yoon, Safdie, Kinzel and Reaves at Inn at 500 Capitol – $2,605.
–Dinner at Chandler’s Steakhouse for Reaves- $38

Yet to come will be the expenses for the Safdie sales pitch held at the Simplot JUMP building last month which included NO MENTION of price, funding methods, or revenue sources.

Comments & Discussion

10 comments for ““Rock Star” Contract Costly To Boise Taxpayers”

  1. I gotta wonder what other Boise City business is farmed out which could be kept local. Isn’t there a big push to keep it local by these stuffy city leader people? How ironic, and expensive.

  2. The mayor and a majority of city council are past their use-by date. Their freshness is in question. They should be taken off the shelf.

    Don’t let the side-show in DC distract from the election where we really can make a difference. We CAN have an effect on the back-room deals that have become all too common at city hall. Let’s remove the culprits. But first, we must find better replacements.

    Let the nominations begin….

  3. Concerned Neighbor
    Oct 3, 2018, 7:12 pm

    Although the entire library fiasco is a total waste of money – we should move to neighborhood wifi rooms and 100x more eBooks – those prices are actually on the low side for consulting.

  4. Chickenhawk
    Oct 3, 2018, 10:13 pm

    Well the millions spent on “studies” for the downtown choo-choo (aka the Desire Named Streetcar) went nowhere, so why not select a place that could very well go extinct in a few decades thanks to new advancements in the Internet? The hobos at least will have a fun place to hang out.

    EDITOR NOTE–Check out the new city budget that has $350,000 for “preliminary engineering for downtown circulator” (trolley).

  5. The only domestic business class is on certain coast to coast flights. There is no business class on flights that land at Boise, nor are there nonstop flights from Boston. What was his original ticket and why didn’t the airline that canceled his flight not rebook him themselves? And why was he allowed to expense anything more than the cheapest coach fare?

  6. If we Boiseans don’t put a stop to Dave Bieter spending our tax dollars on monuments to himself, we will get what we deserve…a city choked by cars, empty stadiums and garish, ultra-edgey yet tasteless, buildings popping up at random. I attended the gala evening at Jump (how much did THAT cost?). Safdie was an engaging speaker, showing us various multi-million projects, but when he started to talk about the Boise project, we heard vague ideas about needed “extras” like shading and cooling the six-story south-facing glass atrium wall. No mention of recyclables. No mention of renewables. No mention of parking solutions. No mention of our homeless population’s needs. No mention of the Cabin except as a “distraction” unworthy of historical preservation. And sadly, a wink and a nod about those as-yet undetermined “extras” which made the mayor blush and giggle. It reminded me of that Putin and Trump moment…you remember the one. Someone is in control, folks, and its not you and me. Back to the drawing board!!

  7. Time to look into the personal empires and finances of each of the entrenched city politicos. Slush funds for nebulous pie in the sky stuff such as trolley engineering could well be circulating onto unknown spurs. Crazy concern isn’t it. That sort of thing has never happens in American politics. Especially not in isolated places controlled by a handful of individuals. Especially not with a lapdog local media.

  8. I heard this am directly from a director in the Boise City government that the city specifically diverted money they had to rebuild the fire stations to parks after the bond was approved.

    They had the money – just wanted more!

    You must realize that Mayor Beiter and every city councilor think that ALL the money they take from us is theirs and they can spend it ANYWAY they want! It is the mayors money not yours!!

  9. This whole project is unnecessary. If more library space is needed, add a couple floors to the current library. I like the current library and it has not seemed too full when I have visited. There’s nothing “green” about this project -despite Bieter et al trumpeting “greenness”. They are going to demolish a completely good building (if I understand the scheme correctly) and start anew from the ground up. This is the opposite of sustainability. AND use concrete, metal, etc. all of which the a toll on the environment. They are going to be killing many trees down by the river -it also appears. The whole project is an ego trip for Bieter.

  10. Speckled Hen
    Oct 4, 2018, 1:46 pm

    Some of this reporting doesn’t account for how contracts like this are oftentimes a lump sum arrangement. The architectural firm agrees to provide services for a specified dollar amount (let’s use $500,000 for example) that’s inclusive of any travel and labor costs. The contract typically includes a “not to exceed” clause related to the budget amount.

    What all this means is if the city signed a lump sum deal with these architects then travel costs are inconsequential. Maybe the initial estimate was $475,000 in labor and $25,000 in travel costs. If the firm spends an $50,000 on travel then it comes out of their labor budget and their profits. As long as they deliver the project they said they would for the contract amount they agreed to, then the city can’t really say or question too much about how that budget is divvied up (within reason). If the company asks for additional budget because of the added travel costs, then that would be a problem that suggest they blew their wad and still want reimbursement for it.

    The city would be smart to point that out if it’s the case that they have a lump sum contract.

    EDITOR NOTE–If only your thoughts were true! The actual contract agrees to itemized expenses for first class travel. Please note the story has actual itemized expenses, approved by the city in addition to the fees for service.

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