By Juan Montoya
On October 2010, Dr. Leonardo de la Garza was part of the "Dynamic Campus" team hawking computer and Internet solutions at the Texas Association of Community Colleges' annual board of directors meeting held in Austin, Texas.
At the time he was listed as an employee with Dynamic Campus Solutions Inc., in effect an employee and salesman of the company.
, she served for 12 years as associate vice chancellor for planning and budgeting at the Tarrant County College District (Dallas) under de la Garza.
Among some of the glowing letters of recommendation for the new president was one from de la Garza who said in his recommendation that: "...Tercero is "one of the best," noting she was actively involved in board decisions as well as her church and community. "She worked with me at Sante (sic) Fe Community College and at Tarrant County (College District)," the recommendation read. "Lily is one of the brightest and most hard working individuals I know. She is a star, she just shines, and she will be an outstanding president at Texas Southmost College."
Then, on November 17, 2011, Tercero recommended that de la Garza be hired to be part of her transition team, which the board did. As part of his duties, he is one of the consultants to the TSC board when the members evaluate the TSC president.
Once on board, de la Garza took part in advising Tercero and the board on the necessary policy moves and expenditures to make TSC a free-standing institution once it gained operational independence in the fall of 2013. On of those was the colleges' information technology (IT) section. As a close personal adviser of the new president, he would have had a direct hand in advising the TSC administrative staff on formulating the Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for the new IT setup.
As the local daily reported in September 2011, IT services were some of the many assets that became intertwined as the "partnership" between TSC and UT-Brownsville developed.
On May 21, 2012, the TSC board of trustees engaged the services of de la Garza's Dynamic Campus Solutions Inc. to implement the college's information technology (IT) solutions.
Tercero said the college was aiming for state-of-the-art technology. At the time, the contract required a budget amendment, said Chet Lewis, TSC vice president for finance and administration.
The board approved the contract with a cap at $800,000 not to exceed $1 million and Lewis told then the price was for phase one of creating a new TSC system.
The local daily reported that the price "includes the creation of a new TSC website, the provision of network services such as email and phone, a help desk and a cloud, or protected Internet connection, for the school’s data. The phase will take place May 30 to Dec. 30 (2012)."
What Dynamic Campus senior vice president Richard Middaugh didn't tell the TSC trustees during his presentation on May 21 was that his company was incorporated in California and could not legally do business in Texas until it had filed its application for registration of a foreign for-profits corporation here.
Records with the Texas Secretary of State indicate that Dynamic Campus filed its application on September 6, 2012 and listed the date "on which the foreign entity first transacted business in Texas" as June 6, 2012, more than a week after TSC had granted it the IT contract. It lists its president as Michael Glubke, with his offices listed at 2806 Flintrock Place, Ste. A205, Austin, Texas.
A Google search shows a rural address in Lakeway, Texas, off Ranch Road 620 S. outside of Austin with a two-story masonry building shared with other businesses.
Right before the May 21 $1 million award to Dynamic Campus Solutions de la Garza was the featured "special guest" of Dynamic Campus Solutions in Orlando, Fla., during the 2012 American Association of Community Colleges' 92nd Annual Convention April 21-24 where the company invited participants to "stop by and see us and our special guest, Dr. Leonardo de la Garza at booth 822..."
De la Garza continues to be paid by TSC as a consultant to Tercero on a myriad of matters, but Dynamic Solutions has never been left out.
Just as Lewis warned that the initial $1 million outlay to the company for IT work was just the beginning, the TSC administration staff came back on September 20, 2012, telling the board that they "had worked with Dynamic Campus to develop an amendment to the contract to proceed with the remaining phase of the proposed services."
They recommended – and the board approved without the need for further RFPs:
1. $2,042,856 for FY 2013 (Jan. 1-Aug. 31, 2013)
2. $3,568,944 for FY 2014 and
3. $3,824,616 for FY 2015 with an option to extend the contract an additional three-year term.
Was de la Garza, while working as a consultant to TSC president Tercero and still associated with Dynamic Campus Solutions, receive a commission for the $10 million sale?
We can probably guess what his recommendations will be when the board evaluates his former employee Tercero.
Now, we've heard that a good word goes a long way, but in the case of de la Garza, his recommendation of his buddy Tercero was worth its weight in gold with $10,436,416 worth in IT contracts to his company Dynamic Campus Solutions, wouldn't you think?