Company run by budget director’s brother outbid for $5 million state grant

Nov 22, 2013

The state will not award a $5 million grant to a firm run by the brother of Michigan’s top budget official. 

It was revealed this week that the company iSchool Campus had lobbied lawmakers to add the school technology grant to the state budget. Michigan Budget Director John Nixon’s brother is the company’s CEO.

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced Friday the grant will instead go to the Genesee Intermediate School District.

The department says the decision had nothing to do with concerns over a possible conflict of interest.

“The grant scorers had no idea whose application was whose,” said MDE spokesperson Bill DiSessa. “That was the process used here to make sure everything was fair and on the up and up.”

DiSessa says iSchool Campus was outbid by three other organizations.

“There were some competitive bids. And as it turns out, this particular bid did not end up, point-wise, near the top,” he said.

State Superintendent Mike Flanagan says he reviewed the connection between iSchool Campus’ bid and John Nixon. He says he was satisfied that the process was conducted properly.

“I think (the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget) and Budget Director Nixon did the honorable thing, in completely separating themselves from this competitive bid process,” Flanagan said Friday in a release.