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School Official's Nephew Sought Contract Work From Board

Deputy Superintendent Michael Garretson's nephew apparently went from "receptionist" to construction company owner in record time.

Records show that Garretson's nephew, Mike Ray Mallory, described by the construction chief as a receptionist, did more than just work as an assistant project manager for the Weitz Company, which is a favorite school board contractor that Garretson played a role in getting more than $35 million in work.

Mallory also formed a construction company last year with a painting subcontractor and another construction manager. That company, Rainbow Construction Services LLC, applied for prequalification to do work at the district. On the school board application, Mallory is listed as an owner along with Maurice Kotchek and Enoc Pallango.

The nephew also started his own consulting firm at about the same time, Mallory Consulting Group. What that business, which is still active, does is unknown.

Here is a copy of the Rainbow Construction application to the board. Interestingly, the name Rainbow Construction Services was dashed out after the application was submitted and "Rainbow Decorating" was typed above it. Mallory remained listed as an owner. It's not known who altered the document and there is indication in other school board documents that Mallory's name was scrubbed from the records.  

Kotchek is the owner of Rainbow Painting, which is based in Boca Raton. Rainbow is a subcontractor for the Weitz Company and Pirtle Construction, the largest school builder in Broward County. Rainbow is also a regular contributor to school board political campaigns, often via lobbyist Neil Sterling's big-money


Pallango is a construction project manager who worked several years for the Pirtle company before joining Weitz as a project manager.

The three men formed Rainbow Construction Services on January 23, 2008, just a couple months after the 26-year-old Mallory was hired by Weitz to "answer phones," according to Garretson. Garretson also happens to be long-time friends with Weitz executive Rick Kolb, who is the son of the late Broward County Commissioner Anne Kolb.

While it appears that the attempt to qualify Rainbow Construction Services was aborted, the Rainbow painting company owned by Kotchek worked with Weitz on Broward school cafeteria renovation projects. Interestingly, Dep. Supt. Garretson scored Weitz as his No. 1 company at the Qualification Selection Committee vote for the $35 million cafeteria project in February 2007.

I contacted Kotchek a couple of days ago after first getting a whiff of this. Kotchek told me that he worked with Mallory on the Weitz projects. When asked if he knew that Mallory was Garretson's nephew, he said, "That's none of my business. That stuff goes in one ear and out the other. I'm old school out of Philadelphia."

I called Kotchek back today to ask him about the company he formed with Mallory and Pallango, which he didn't acknowledge in our first conversation. "Listen I ain't gonna talk to you," he said. "All you're going to do, this is bullshit, I'm not talking to you."

Then he hung up.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman

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