Tuesday’s GOAC hearing unearthed another interesting connection to the GEAR UP/Mid-Central scandal. As Bob Mercer reports, Rep. Kristin Conzet (R-32/Rapid City) helped get the whole GEAR UP mess started by writing the original grant proposal:
Rep. Kristin Conzet, R-Rapid City, testified she wrote the original GEAR UP grant while she worked for the state Department of Education from 2003 to 2005.
The state department of education operated the program then, she said.
“I had a monthly salary as a state DOE employee,” Conzet said. State government dismissed her in 2005.
“I was done with DOE so I moved onto other contracts,” she said.
GEAR UP ran well then, according to Conzet. She said the in-kind match came from the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology during that period.
“I am a grant professional. I certified the whole thing,” Conzet said. She said she worked with Stacy Phelps, who was director of GEAR UP operations [Bob Mercer, “Mid Central Probe Intensifies as Legislators Dig Into Answers,” Pierre Capital Journal, 2017.08.29].
After writing the GEAR UP grant for Rick Melmer’s Department of Education, Conzet went into private consulting and fundraising for non-profits. Then Conzet was appointed to fill a vacancy in the Legislature in 2009 by Governor Marion Michael Rounds, whose insurance and real estate partner Karl Fischer is Conzet’s dad. Yes, everyone in Pierre is connected….