By JOHN DiSTASO, News Editor
CONCORD — With Republican Walt Havenstein ready to formally file his candidacy for governor Wednesday, the state Democratic Party has released a scathing new web video and web site calling the former CEO of Scientific Applications International Corporation a failure for his inability to stop a scandal that cost taxpayers in New York City about $600 million.
Havenstein’s campaign called the Democratic allegations “rumors and false allegations,” said restitution was made under arrangement completed during Havenstein’s tenure and released its own document which it says shows “his time as CEO of SAIC in a different light.” It also released its own web video portraying Havenstein as a person of “integrity” and “leadership.”
(Links to the NHDP-generated web site and video as well as the Havenstein response and video are available at the end of this report.)
Havenstein is also expected to be the target of a filing with the state Ballot Law Commission challenging Havenstein’s claim that New Hampshire has been his domicile for at least the past seven years, as required by law to run serve as governor.
The Democrats have contended for several months that Havenstein gave up his domicile in the state while claiming a condominium in Bethesda, Maryland, as his “principal residence” in order to receive a homestead tax break and a break on his real estate transfer tax when he purchased the condo.
Havenstein has said his home in Alton has long been his domicile and even while he lived in the Maryland condominium while working nearby for BAE Systems and then SAIC, he always voted in New Hampshire and never relinquished his New Hampshire domicile.
Havenstein’s campaign says he will file for governor at 1 p.m. Wednesday.
The Democrats’ new online advertising campaign includes a web site, WaltFacts.com, which contains a video charging that while he earned $20 million during his nearly three years heading SAIC, he left the company enshrouded in a “contracting scandal” involving CityTime, an outsourced New York City contract to design a payroll system that would precisely track the hours worked by city employees.
According to a WNYC.org story published in 2011, “Under Mayor Bloomberg, the contract ballooned from $63 million where it had started out in the Giuliani years , to more than $700 million. Federal prosecutors now say at least $600 million of that was ‘tainted.’ At every level, federal prosecutors allege grafters had honeycombed CityTime in to a paragon of corruption.
“‘Between 2003 and 2010, the CityTime payroll project served as a vehicle for an unprecedented fraud, which appears to have metastasized over time,’ said Preet Baharara, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.”
The NHDP says that that during Havenstein’s tenure, from September 2009 to June 2012, “SAIC shed thousands of jobs, its stock to plummeted 32 percent, and Walt failed to stop a fraud scandal that overcharged taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”
“Walt Havenstein wants New Hampshire voters to let him create an economic plan for our state, but as CEO, his failed strategy for SAIC resulted in thousands of jobs shed, a plummeting stock price, and a damaged reputation for SAIC after he failed to stop a fraud scandal that overcharged taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” said party chair Raymond Buckley.
“Walt Havenstein’s record speaks for itself. When voters learn more at WaltFacts.com, they’ll see that his disastrous tenure as CEO took his company in the wrong direction, just like he would take New Hampshire in the wrong direction.”
But Havenstein’s campaign released a document called “The Truth About Walt Havenstein and SAIC.”
The document contained a statement from campaign spokesman Henry Goodwin that Havenstein, after assuming leadership of SAIC, “discovered that he had inherited a very serious situation. As soon as he suspected wrongdoing on the part of employees, Walt immediately took action to fix the problem: he hired a new General Counsel and began an internal investigation.
“By the end of Walt’s tenure as CEO, all those found responsible had been held accountable and arrangements had been put in place so that all harmed parties were to be made whole.”
Goodwin said Havenstein left SAIC in 2012 because “the main objectives of efforts to fix the CityTime situation been achieved” and “Walt did what he felt was best for the company, which was to give it a fresh start by handing the baton to a new CEO.”
His campaign later released its own web video, dubbed “Meet Walt,” showing Havenstein as a “thoughtful” leader and former Marine who “married his high school sweetheart.”
Click here for NHDP’s WaltFacts.com, containing the Democrats’ web video and timeline.
Click here for the Havenstein campaign’s response document.
Click here for the pro-Havenstein web video released by his campaign.