Gary Underwood, deputy chief information officer to State Treasurer Dennis Milligan, contributed significantly to Milligan’s campaign video and other media support through his business, Pinnacle Communications.
Now, Underwood’s partner in Pinnacle, his son Kurt, is being paid by the treasurer’s office to provide similar services: He is under contract to redesign the treasurer’s website and provide maintenance. His contract is worth $6,000 — $4,800 for the web design and $1,200 for “unlimited monthly updates for 6 months,” according to Grant Wallace, assistant chief of staff for the office. Kurt Underwood is now doing business as JNK Consulting Group, also known as JNK Tactical. JNK Tactical was awarded the contract in January. (Oddly, JNK Tactical is also the name of a Vilonia gun store.)
I have asked Wallace whether the office consulted with anyone as to the propriety of doing business with a family member of a staffer, and expect a reply on Monday.
Perhaps because of the today’s reporting by John Lyon of
Stephens Media Arkansas News (now owned by GateHouse Media) that Max just elaborated on, Underwood has notified the treasurer’s office staff that all office emails are to be deleted after 30 days.
Gary Underwood has worked before in the Capitol, serving as Mike Huckabee’s director of media operations, a busy outfit that acted as Huckabee’s personal press corps.
The treasurer’s office has also entered into contracts with SBS, Lineage, Department of Information Systems, La Harpe’s, Complete Computing, Strategic Strategies, JNK Tactical, Aristotle, Bison Creative, Edgewater, SunGuard, Bloomberg, Presido, Shred It, Apple Inc., Sphere Access, Custom Advertising, Winner’s Circle, Baldwin Shell, Sam’s, Wal Mart, Hobby Lobby, Office Depot, Bedford Photo and Video, Bank of America, Simmons First, CCI Arkansas, Vivid Designs, Arkansas Graphics, Cooperative Extension, UALR Printing, Aqua Java, Premiere, Westrock, Goddess Products, Standard Business Machines, Data Max, Arkansas Correctional Industries, Arkansas Flag and Banner, INA/Arkansas.gov, Arkansas Teacher Retirement System, Best Park, LLC, Printing Papers INC, Reynolds Rubber Stamps INC, Custom Trophies INC, Arkansas Bag & Equipment Company, United States Postal Service, Ironflow Technologies INC, Neopost and Verizon Wireless for a variety of services, including printers, paper, coffee and technical support.
UPDATE: A computer vendor that once did business with the treasurer’s office has provided a letter she wrote last year — a month before Milligan took office — in which she recounts how Gary Underwood had been calling about the office’s account and presenting himself as an employee of the office, though he was not then.