November 9, 2015 · 3 Comments
DuPage Co. (ECWd) –
One of many early tips we received from whistle blowers at the College of DuPage was in regards to Herricane Graphics, which included this statement:
“we must use Carla for relationship purposes even though her quotes had come in significantly higher.” (Carla, being Carla Burkhart, owner of Herricane Graphics and COD Foundation Board member) (As reported in March of 2015)
In a long series of articles we took you through step by step, document by document, building the case that Herricane Graphics was receiving preferential treatment as it related to her contracts and obligations outlined in those contracts, commonly refereed to as pay to play. (Click here to select from the long list of articles published on this matter)
The recent report from the Higher Learning Commission reported: “the team was advised that a contract with Herricane Graphics was entered into after the contract deadline. According to the internal auditor, this contract was therefore invalid.” (HCL report page with the referenced info)
Looking at the Internal Audit report we now see just how accurate we have been in our reporting.
I covered this RFP issue in my January 3rd article and the fact is, a 2014 contract to Herricane Graphics was entered into without ANY RFP and the Board approval document claimed it was for professional services! (Board approval document – No RFP or Bid)
The Internal Audit confirms: “In the case of the RFP for signage services, there was no legal advertisement, the proposal was sent only to Herricane Graphics“
Of interest in the above linked Board Approval Document is the fact Breuder’s signature is no where to be found, which we have only seen this happen twice so far, both on Herricane Graphics approval documents. This document was signed by Joe Collins, current Interim President.
Was Breuder avoiding this matter because he knew it was wrong?
The auditor reports “I believe it is clear that the Illinois statutes allow the College to issue a contract for professional services without using a formal bid process when the contract is for the services of an individual possessing a high degree of professional skill and where the ability or fitness of the individual plays an important part.”
“ability or fitness of the individual plays an important part.”
To date, we have found no evidence in the records that Herricane Graphics has demonstrated ability or fitness which includes competence and qualifications as outlined in the Local Government Professional Services Selection Act, which is what they cited in the Board Approval Documents. (As covered in this article)
(50 ILCS 510/1) Sec. 1. Policy. It shall be the policy of the political subdivisions of the State of Illinois to negotiate and enter into contracts for architectural, engineering and land surveying services on the basis of demonstrated competence and qualifications for the type of services required and at fair and reasonable compensation.
The record pertaining to Herricane Graphics is very clear. They received multiple no bid contracts that had requirements contained in them that were never met, yet they continued to get COD Business.
How is a vendor deemed fit for a contract when the following violations of contracts have been proven as well as misleading the press?
In spite of the facts, Breuder’s team put a Board Approval Document on the consent agenda with the following verbiage:
Herricane Graphics has developed a successful relationship with the College during the development and construction of over 16 signage / wayfinding related projects. As a result of these successful projects, we are recommending award of this contract to Herricane Graphics. This purchase complies with State Statute, Board Policy and Administrative Procedures. The purchase of professional services are exempt from bidding under Illinois Public Community College Act, 11 O ILCS 805/3-27.1. (As presented to the Board)
The statement, “This purchase complies with State Statute, Board Policy and Administrative Procedures”, is simply false and you only need to read the key points of the Internal audit to see that.
From the Internal Audit
And now, the clear pass the buck comment that takes the auditor off the hook and no one gets held accountable for this scam on the tax payers:
I challenge the current Board of Trustees to waive privilege on this matter and tell the public what attorneys Florey and/or Vasquez told the Administration after the Auditors recommendation. Was their input EVER requested?
It is evident from reading the Internal Audit and reviewing the history of our reporting on this matter we hit every nail on the head, and to date no one has been held accountable.
At what point will the FBI or the State’s Attorney send a message that this kind of stuff can not go on in our public institutions?
This is an exact replica of the Internal Audit. It was reproduced in its entirety in order to ensure the meta data does not point to our whistle blower.
By Kirk Allen
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