The U.S. Office of Inspector General (OIG) has launched an inquiry into the $50.6 million grant awarded to Motorola, which the vendor was expected used to help fund the buildout of a 193-site LTE network for public-safety agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to a letter from Inspector General Todd Zinser.

In a letter to Larry Strickling — assistant secretary for communication and information for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), which awarded the grant — Zinser stated that his staff would “obtain additional facts” regarding the Motorola grant award in response to complaints from Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith, who wrote the OIG office about the matter on Nov. 1.

Smith wrote his complaints in the aftermath of an NTIA review that upheld the Motorola grant award, despite concerns raised by Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose that NTIA did not consider all aspects of the grant application.

In his letter to Zinser, Jeff Smith stated that an “investigation is warranted and necessary in order to ensure that public funds are administered in a transparent and fair manner at all levels of government,” asserting that the grant was “secured in a manner that lacked transparency and prudence.” In particular, Smith noted that the decision to team with Motorola in a public/private partnership was never voted upon by legal representatives of the government entities involved.

In addition to reviewing NTIA actions regarding complaints from Santa Clara County and the city of San Jose, OIG staff “will review the valuation of equipment provided as matching share by the grantee, in addition to the equipment being purchased from the grantee as part of the BayWEB project,” according to Zinser’s letter to Strickling.