Former State Accident Fund director Amy Cofield, fired by the governor after she was accused of helping her husband get a lucrative contract with the agency she ran, detailed in February how her department struggled to find a company to do necessary programming work after receiving no responses.
But a new report by state Inspector General Brian Lamkin — performed at the request of Gov. Henry McMaster — says Cofield involved herself in the procurement process that eventually landed her husband a $600,000 contract, creating a conflict of interest that was both “organizational and personal.”
The State Accident Fund’s procurement process for hiring a project manager to oversee a new records program was “tainted by a personal conflict of interest between Cofield and her spouse, as well as Cofield’s continued involvement in the procurement process up through the interview panel’s selection of Terrapin as the PM,” said the report, published Thursday.
“Cofield did not recuse herself from the procurement, nor did she heed the state ethics law and SAF employee policies,” it added.
McMaster fired Cofield in February and asked the inspector general to investigate whether Cofield played any role in the hiring of her husband, Jimmy Terrapin. In conversations with reporters, Cofield had maintained innocence, saying she was unfairly targeted by a member of her staff.
The Governor’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.
In a more than 130-page response to the report, Cofield through her attorney wrote that the inspector general’s summary is “wrought with absences of critical information, citations of only portions of script or conversations, as well as unsubstantiated, and inaccurate conclusions.”
“The report also eliminates any context from his alleged ‘facts,’ ” the response says.
In one case, Cofield denies a claim made by the inspector general’s report that she ever prohibited Matthew Hansford, her deputy director and chief procurement officer, from engaging in conversations with other bidders competing for the contract.
Cofield, in a series of text messages with The State on Friday, again defended her actions, saying the report is an “exoneration of my actions.”
“Gov. McMaster’s procurement agency explicitly stated that awarding the contract to a firm which employed my husband was not a problem as long as I did not participate in the process and he did not have any ownership interest in the firm,” Cofield said. “I did not participate in the process and he had no ownership interest in the firm. ... I am very proud of that I did at the SAF. I went to work every day with a single mission to make the agency more effective and efficient and I was successful. Nothing in this report will ever change that.”
The Post and Courier was the first to report on the inspector general’s findings.
This is a developing story. It will be updated.