DuPage Co. (ECWd) -
Friday the Chicago Tribune published an on-line article pertaining to the College of DuPage (COD) and Herricane Graphics, a subject I have been covering in great depths since December of 2014. I greatly appreciate their continued exposure. (Chicago Tribune Article) (Click here for Herricane graphics related articles)
Then a day later the Daily Herald ran a short piece on the same subject. (Daily Herald coverage - may require subscription)
What jumped out at me the most with these two stories is the fact Carla Burkhart is quoted. To date, she has refused to return any communication with me. That being the case, let's run down each of her quotes provided to the Daily Herald and show the public the rest of the story!
- "Carla Burkhart of Herricane Graphics insists she never claimed to be an architect."
Then if that is the case, how can she explain this statement in the very contract that she signed? “For the avoidance of doubt the Initial Information includes the information on Architect’s proposal to Owner dated June 29. 2011″.
I wrote about that in this article and to date COD has never been able to provide the claimed Architect's proposal to them that was dated June 29th, 2011. Someone put that statement into paragraph 1.1 of the contract and she signed that contract with her company name as the Architect. When you sign a contract naming your company as the architect and it points to a proposal "for the avoidance of doubt" with a date of the submission, you are holding yourself out to be an architect. (click here for contract -see page 2, paragraph 1.1)
By all indications the Illinois Department of Financial Professional Regulations agrees as they are prosecuting the case. I don't think they would move to prosecute if they were of the opinion she was not holding herself out as an architect.
If I were to put a Medal of Honor around my neck, I am holding myself out to be a Medal of Honor recipient. I don't have to verbalize it. Her insistence that she never "claimed" to be an architect doesn't hold water.
- "Burkhart says the contracts her West Chicago-based company received were based on merit and not because she sits on the College of DuPage Foundation board"
Great sound bite, but it does not hold water when we have first-hand employee testimony that informed us and I quote, “we must use Carla for relationship purposes even though her quotes had come in significantly higher.” (Click here for coverage of that information)
Using her for relationship purposes does not point to merit but instead points to Pay to Play!
- "We started doing work at the college long before I was invited to be on the foundation," said Burkhart, who has served on the board since June 2012."
Based on records provided from COD, that was not the case, however, yesterday we obtained some court records that not only substantiate her claim of doing work long before she was invited to be on the foundation, it proves the College was not transparent in providing the requested records. Why would COD withhold such information?
The Tribune also referenced the name Glenn Rebechini, who's company Rebechini Studios has been a subcontractor for the College. This is the same company that sued Carla Burkhart (Herricane Graphics) for refusing to pay him what he was owed. That case started in 2009, which shows Burkhart was in fact doing work well in advance of her appointment to the Foundation. Burkhart lost that case and was ordered to pay the subcontractor what they were owed. (Click here for the Court Case Documents)
It also points to a concern regarding who COD does business with. When a contractor is getting sued on a COD project it should throw some red flags up. Especially when that contractor has not complied with the Prevailing Wage Act, or provided the required insurance under her contracts. Failing to comply with those requirements ensures a significant higher profit margin for Herricane Graphics while opening up COD to potential litigation for failing to enforce Federal, State, and contract mandates. (Payroll and insurance article here)
- "deny that they, individually or jointly, advertised or offered architectural services to the College of DuPage in 2012."
Wordsmithing is an art! No one ever claimed that they "advertised" or "offered" architectural services. We claimed and proved that she signed two contracts that reflected her company is the Architect, and clearly the state agreed with our opinion or they would not be prosecuting the case.
- "Burkhart said her company always provided written proposals to the college for the work it did. For example, she said the 2014 contract was awarded after the college did a request for proposals."
Read the FOIA request and see for yourself. I specifically asked for the Architect's proposal as described in the contract and the school said no such record exists. (COD Response for the proposal)
As reported in this article, no RFP was issued for the 2014 contract. Her claim is not true based on the paper trail of the approving of that contract.
This ties to a lie told by Trustee Savage that was also covered in the above referenced article.
"She also said the existing COD board examined the issue back in December 2013. Since that discussion, the college has issued RFPs (requests for proposals) for professional services even though state law does not require it," Savage said. "These recent statements by some trustee candidates either reflect a lack of actual knowledge of the situation or are intentional attempts to mislead the public."(Daily Herald article)
That is a LIE!
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)
- "We just submit the pricing," she said. "If the college awards it to us, they do. If they don't, then they go with whoever else they want to do the work."
What was it that our whistle blower told us?
“we must use Carla for relationship purposes even though her quotes had come in significantly higher.”
That was according to direct input from Breuder and Catherine Brod, the Foundation Director to the whistle blower.
I am confident people are not stupid! They may be ignorant, which is nothing more than not knowing all the information. That is where we come in! I have done my best to ensure all the documents support the very things we report.
There is very little room for misinterpretation of facts but tons of room for propaganda and deception. The only way to counter the propaganda and deception is to call it out when it happens. Unfortunately for me, Carla Burkhart will not speak with us. I would have called her out on each and every quote she provided the Daily Herald as the paper trail destroys her claims except for her time line of working for COD, which COD misled the public by not providing the records, thus their need for a PR firm.