SACRAMENTO — A public relations firm with close ties to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has pulled out of the running for a $9-million contract with California's high-speed rail board, after its successful initial bid was scuttled over concerns about the selection process.
Mercury Public Affairs had been chosen in September as the winner of the five-year public relations contract by a staff panel at the California High Speed Rail Authority.
Rail board members expressed concern about the choice, however, after The Times reported that two of the three panelists had close ties to Adam Mendelsohn, a Mercury partner and former Schwarzenegger communications director.
Steve Schmidt, Schwarzenegger's 2006 reelection campaign manager, is another Mercury partner, as is former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, a Los Angeles Democrat.