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April 22, 2024

College of DuPage – Pattern Of Practice Points To Favoritism With Contracts

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On December 4, 2015

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –
Past articles outlined what appeared to be a distinctive fact pattern pointing to favoritism when it comes to contracts being awarded to companies in which COD Foundation Board Members either owned the company, or were directly affiliated to it.

US Bank, which we covered in numerous articles was a recipient of a no bid agreement with COD.  The President of the bank at that time was Marsha Cruzan, now a former COD Foundation member.  The appearance of favoritism is supported by the fact the previous bank operating within COD went through a Request for Proposal RFP process.

By not requiring US Bank to do the same thing, leads to many questions as to why one had to and not the other.  We covered that in detail in many articles but this one lays out the key points.

Herricane Graphics, owned by Carla Burkhart, a COD Foundation Board member, also received no bid contracts.  In her case, COD claimed the Signage and Wayfinding contracts with her company were considered a Professional Service and did not require any bidding.  In addition, the contract form used was from the American Institute of Architects, of which she is not an Architect, even though she signed her name as one.  (This article summarizes key points)

The comparison for Herricane Graphics comes from another company, KMA Design, who was awarded a Signage and Wayfinding contract in August of 2008, prior to Robert Breuder being hired.  Shortly after that contract award, another agreement was entered into with KMA that also went through an RFP process in 2009.

This company went through an RFP process, unlike Herricane Graphics, even though they both were awarded Signage and Wayfinding contracts.

What I found most interesting was when comparing KMA Design’s agreement with COD to that used by Herricane Graphics it is clear  they are not even remotely close.  Most people we have spoken with are of the opinion COD used the Architect contract with Foundation Board Member Carla Burkhart in order to present an image that it was a Professional Service, thus no bidding or RFP necessary.  It supported their claim of such at a minimum.

Now the question is how and why was a COD Foundation Board member the recipient of no bid contracts for Signage and Wayfinding when COD previously required RFP’s for Signage and Wayfinding?  How was it not a Professional Service when KMA was selected but is for COD Foundation member Carla Burkhart’s company, Herricane Graphics?

Below are all the documents related to KMA Design and there business relationship with COD.  It is clear by reviewing them that they were treated much differently than Herricane Graphics.

The pattern of practice at COD points to favoritism in the selection and awarding process.  This is based on the fact the US Bank branch President and Herricane Graphics owner were tied to the COD Foundation as members and did not have to compete for their business while others in the very same industry did prior to those two  coming into the picture.

We are confident that the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the local State’s Attorney have a handle on what really happen.  We see the transactions with these Foundation Members businesses as bid rigging and can only wait to see how the authorities see it.

Proving criminality is a very slow and painful process and now with this additional exposure of more facts it may take even longer as  this exposure raises a whole knew series of questions.


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