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July 20, 2024

College of DuPage – Herricane Graphics favored nation status

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On August 19, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd)
A rolling production of records regarding Herricane Graphics (HG)  appears to substantiate even more of our claims regarding the relationship Carla Burkhart, COD Foundation Board member and owner of HG, has with the College.
The following are exerts from e-mails between COD officials, Carla Burkhart, Catherine Brod, and vendors.  
Page 2 – Brod to COD and CC to Carla Burkhart :  Our MAC Motown event has just today been postponed until September, so we are no longer on a tight deadline. Let’s take the time to address the needed changes correctly and cost effectively. As a reminder, this project is being paid out of resources for which I am ultimately responsible and I need to carefully steward those resources. To that end, I’d like Carla, in her role as the original designer, to review the related proposals and give us her opinion about what is the best and most cost effective option.
Isn’t it special that Catherine Brod wants to take the time to address changes correctly and cost effectively since its being paid out of resources she is responsible for.  Why wouldn’t ALL projects get such attention?
Page 3 – COD to Burkhart:  “Provide me a rough budget estimate”
Now that is special!  Let’s ask the vendors what “their” budget estimate is instead of following proper procurement guidelines.
Page 5 – COD to Burkhart: “The two attached HG invoices dated 12 Feb need to be voided in your business file, and a new one generated that mimics my handwritten notes. We will continue to treat/invoice this CO 8 simply, as one job.”
So now COD tells their vendor to void invoices in their business file and generate one that mimics his handwritten notes?
Page 7 – Burkhart to Brod: “I believe Bruce was in agreement with myself relative to the cost of design and punch items.”
How special that they were in agreement relative to the cost.  My question is was this cost determined by proper procurement or was this another number provided by Burkhart?
Page 38 – Burkhart to Vendor: “If ASI wants credit for the “individual letters” which are finished per their email, Herricane needs to receive them at their office no later than 11/26/14, and provided they meet the specifications, COD will consider payment. COD does not pay for materials stored offsite unless specifically approved  otherwise.”
Sure sounds like the favored one is calling the shots on behalf of COD right down to the vendor getting paid.
Page 45 – Facilities Manager to Burkhart: “Before I process this invoice, please describe what services HG was directed to perform, so I can determine what percentage is complete.”
Seriously?  The facilities manager does not know what services Herricane Graphics was directed to perform?
Page 193 – From COD to Burkhart:“The question is what were the deliverables, whether they are complete, and I can pay 100%, or only a percentage of what was billed. I understand someone is looking for archived emails on this, but If you have a proposal you sent Julie, that would help define what HG said they’d do for a certain amount.”
“Since the MAC donor wall is being paid/partially paid by  Foundation, they are the ones that should’ve dictated the scope of changes (Giving circles), , .. Julie’s job would’ve been to make sure your proposal was fair and reasonable for the proposed work, which I assume it was. Was anyone from Foundation at the meeting you allude to where this scope and subsequent cost was discussed?
So once again, COD has no idea what the deliverables were for Herricane Graphics.  How is this possible?  I guess anything is possible when two contracts for less than $200K morph into this company making over $700,000.00 without a single bid!
More interesting is the claim the Foundation should have been dictating the scope of changes, which means they did not and COD did!  How special that Burkhart can submit no bid work and get a simple review as to if it is fair and reasonable.
Page 193- Burkhart to COD: “This cost was provided to Julie Carey and Bruce. I have no idea if Cathy was made aware of the costs. This was approved by Dr. Breuder and Cathy was not present in the meeting that discussed any of this. Carla”
Again, how special!  Brueder approving Burkhart’s work and others not present in the meeting.  How convenient!
Page 303 – Burkhart to Inn at Waters Edge Manager: “I have some staff coming in from Germany and I need a room possibly this week into next week. What’s your availability and costs looking like?”
Anyone want to take any bets on the special deal Burkhart may have received on this one?
With over 300 pages, of which many are duplicate, I simply took a snap shot of the picture that gets painted with these commutations.  By all indications, Burkhart is treated pretty much like a COD official and is calling the shots from telling them what budget she needs to dictating when other vendors get paid.
I guess our original tipster was spot on with the statement Burkhart was to get the business regardless of bids for relationship purposes with the Foundation.

Email Production at this link

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