The investigators wanted to know the seating arrangements and the acoustics.
“Scott and I were across from one another,” said Callahan. “Scott and I talked for 10 to 15 minutes.”
“Was it loud it enough that someone else could hear it?”
Batterson mentioned the general consulting contract and his certainty that he would become the chairman, succeeding Crumit, said Callahan.
“And that was pretty much it. There was a lot of chit-chat.”
Callahan said that he and Batterson left together and had a few more beers at another restaurant before calling it a night.
Unsatisfied, the investigators then prompted Callahan to probe his memory a bit deeper, saying that they had information that there “was more to this conversation than what you are saying now.”
The Quid Pro Quo
That was when Callahan mentioned the quid pro quo described by Batterson.
According to Callahan, Batterson said he believed he soon would have supporting board votes to replace Crumit as chairman. And with his anticipated influence as chairman, he with other board members were capable of switching the general engineering consultant contract to CH2M Hill if Callahan and CH2M Hill would “give preference” for positions on the "team" to some "friends."
“When he mentioned the general consultancy contract [currently held by Atkins], he said, ‘I may want some of my friends to help you out with that,’ and I said, ‘from a firm standpoint we want to make sure they have the right qualifications and experience.’ Beyond that unless you can help me remember…”
The two investigators prompted Callahan to describe the conversation one more time.
“And he said, ‘as you are developing our team there are some folks I’d like you to consider putting on our team.'”
“Remember,” said Callahan, “I went for a couple of beers and he starts bringing up all this.”
Neither Batterson nor his attorney could be reached for comment. Since entering a plea of not guilty, Batterson’s attorneys and those for state prosecutors have made numerous motions, with hearings and pretrial conferences scheduled for early July.
Gov. Scott has not yet made appointments to the new expressway authority’s board.