Portland approved an $8 million contract to upgrade streetlights with LED and wireless technology last year, months after a former vice president of the company it hired pleaded guilty to federal charges for his role in a similar deal in Pennsylvania.

Portland negotiated with the former sales executive of TEN Connected Solutions as he was under investigation by the FBI in a pay-to-play scheme in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The company and city officials have said that Patrick Regan was removed before Portland’s contract was finalized and that the agreement was free of any ethical violations.

Regan, a former vice president of TEN Connected Solutions, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in June and was sentenced in September – less than a month before Portland city councilors approved the contract.

Regan was implicated in a pay-to-play scandal in Pennsylvania in 2015, after allegedly making contributions to the mayor’s political campaign after his company received a contract to upgrade the streetlights in Allentown, according to a report by ABC27 News.

The Morning Call reported last June that court documents indicated Regan had worked with Allentown officials, through an intermediary, to help write the request for proposals for the streetlight contract so it would be more favorable to TEN. After the contract was awarded to TEN, Regan made the campaign contributions.

Prior to his guilty plea last June, Regan was the lead salesman for TEN Connected Solutions in Portland, according to Troy Moon, the city’s sustainability coordinator. And it was Regan’s name on the company’s 2016 response to the city’s request for proposals, which was submitted before his guilty plea.


Moon said that there was never any indication of Regan’s legal troubles in Pennsylvania until the guilty plea and that Regan never raised any red flags in Portland.

“I was really surprised,” Moon said. “It wasn’t anything at all like the type of experience we had here certainly.”


Moon said TEN and Maryland-based Realterm Energy had expressed early interest in Portland’s LED project. So, when Moon attended a smart cities conference in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2016, he shared copies of the draft RFP with those two companies and others, so he could get feedback about the wording.

The aim was to make the wording as inclusive as possible, Moon said.

“It isn’t unusual to get comments on drafts to make sure people understand what we want and to make sure requests aren’t so narrow that they limit competition,” Moon said in an email. “Their comments about the draft – and comments from others – were about clarifying the scope of the project in the smart-city area. I didn’t make changes attributable to a particular person or company.”


City Manager Jon Jennings said it’s understandable that the city would seek feedback to possibly incorporate into an RFP, but that he has no knowledge about any changes that would benefit one bidder over another. “Obviously that would violate the way we do business,” he said.

Scarborough also has contracted with TEN Connected Solutions, while communities such as Falmouth, Freeport and Biddeford are using Realterm Energy for their LED streetlight conversions.

Kerry Grantham, Scarborough’s sustainability coordinator, said the town modeled its request after those released by Portland, Falmouth, South Portland and others. “Scarborough staff did not share a draft of the RFP with vendors prior to its release,” she said.

“As far as I know, it is not the practice of South Portland to let bidders preview draft RFPs,” South Portland Planning Director Tex Haeuser said.

Moon said an internal selection committee decided to recommend TEN Connected Solutions in February 2017. Moon said the city had little communication with Regan after that, since he wasn’t involved in the product development phase. He’s confident the city’s process was fair and competitive, since the city received seven responses.

And Portland’s process is not as susceptible to pay-to-play schemes, he said.


“There’s no one person driving the bus, so to speak, that can be influenced by someone who is up to no good,” Moon said.


Moon said he was told about Regan’s guilty plea last June by TEN President Richard Campbell. “Patrick wasn’t involved in developing the project, so I didn’t give it a lot of thought at the time,” he said.

Campbell sent a letter to the city on Sept. 19 – less than a month before the City Council voted on the contract – explaining the situation, though he never named Regan. He stressed in his letter to Moon that TEN as a company was never formally named in the investigation and that the company cooperated with investigators.

The Morning Call reported in 2015 that Allentown awarded the contract to TEN, but the contract was never formally executed, because of the FBI investigation.

“The matter in Allentown does not in any way reflect TEN’s culture or reputation in the market,” Campbell wrote. “Inasmuch as TEN was not named in the matter, TEN never had a contract with Allentown, and the former employee pled to his unilateral involvement, we now consider the matter resolved.”


Mayor Ethan Strimling and City Councilor Justin Costa said they did not recall being told about the legal issue prior to the vote. Costa served on the Finance Committee, which reviewed the contract prior to sending it to the council.

“There was a member of the public that sent us something related to that after the contract was already final,” Costa said. “It’s not something we were aware of” before voting on it.

Strimling said the council should have been informed.

“That is something I would want to know,” Strimling said.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: