TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Gov. Rick Scott's chief of staff helped steer a no-bid consulting contract worth $360,000 to a friend who now leads a task force rooting out state government waste.
Steve MacNamara was still working for the Florida Senate when he recommended Sarasota business consultant Abraham Uccello for the contract to streamline the Legislature's computer systems.
Their connection remains strong: Uccello said he sometimes stays at MacNamara's house when visiting Tallahassee. After Uccello was tapped by Scott to lead the government efficiency task force, MacNamara let Uccello get a government security badge that gives him access to the governor's office.
Uccello's company, Harvester Consulting, was hired when MacNamara was then chief of staff for Senate President Mike Haridopolos. State corporation records show that Harvester Consulting was formed the month before the contract was awarded.
In an email, MacNamara said Uccello was highly qualified and said that the contract was not required to be put out to bid.
"I needed someone who understood technology and could save the legislature money which I knew he did and he saved us millions," MacNamara wrote.