Special Report

The Worst Corruption Scandal in Each State

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

6. Colorado
> Scandal: Convention center bid-rigging scheme
> Year: 2018

The city of Denver was recently rocked by a nearly quarter-billion dollar scandal relating to the Colorado Convention Center expansion project. In 2018, reports surfaced that Trammel Crow, the company managing the project, and construction company Mortenson Construction had colluded to rig the bids for the project, which had been valued at $233 million. Mortenson workers reportedly received confidential information about the project to help them win the bid.

In late 2020, both companies agreed to pay a $9 million settlement to cover the cost of delays to the project, which is now slated for completion in late 2023.

Source: Bob Falcetti / Getty Images News via Getty Images

7. Connecticut
> Scandal: Ex-governor’s corruption
> Year: 2004

Former Gov. John Rowland was convicted of fraud and conspiracy for taking illegal payments in 2004. He was released after serving less than a year of his sentence. A decade later, he was imprisoned again on charges that he tried to conceal his role from political campaign overseers as a paid political consultant for several congressional campaigns. Rowland had been the youngest governor ever in Connecticut.

Source: Alex Wong / Getty Images

8. Delaware
> Scandal: Gov. Minner accused of taking improper gifts
> Year: 2006

Gov. Ruth Ann Minner was accused of taking improper gifts from a lobbyist in 2007. The governor took a private flight to Canada for a government leadership conference with a liquor company executive who failed to register as a lobbyist.

Minner did not report the flight in a disclosure filing and said later her cost of the flight did not top the $250 threshold for financial disclosure for state officials, though she never faced any official penalty. The liquor company executive, Christopher Tigani, eventually pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations.

Source: adamkaz / Getty Images

9. Florida
> Scandal: Miami cops swipe cocaine
> Year: 1985

Few scandals undermined the public’s faith in law enforcement more than when police officers pocketed drugs instead of turning them over for evidence. In the summer of 1985, police supposedly raided a boat on the Miami River that was offloading cocaine reportedly worth $2 million. The drugs went missing, and an investigation led to a labyrinth of crooked cops who shook down drug dealers and took the money and drugs. Eventually, over a dozen police officers were convicted.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10. Georgia
> Scandal: Cheating scandal involving principals and teachers
> Year: 2011

A wide-ranging test-cheating scandal in Atlanta undercut the integrity of educators. In 2011, about 180 teachers and principals in the Atlanta public school system cheated to boost student scores on standardized tests. It was one of the biggest cheating scandals involving educators in the nation’s history.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation also uncovered a conspiracy to intimidate whistleblowers and conceal misdoing. Education observers cited the scandal as an example of politicians placing too much emphasis on students performing well on standardized tests.

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