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May 18, 2024

IDFPR & College of DuPage Part IV – 2014 Contract avoided!

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 31, 2016

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

Part IV of this series on the utter failure of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations (IDFPR) to investigate and validate information being provided to them will be to expose College of DuPage (COD) Senior Administrator Bruce Schmiedl’s new problems coming out of his response to the Trustees on January 28th, 2106.  We will take those responses and explain why his responses are at a minimum a misrepresentation  but also may well be an orchestrated response and possibly outright lies.

First, we urge you take 12 minutes and listen to the response Bruce Schmiedl provided to questions by the COD Board of Trustees.

Claims he was contacted by IDFPR – Emails reflect he was first contacted by the Attorney for Herricane Graphics.  That attorney provided the name and phone number of the person at IDFPR dealing with the situation.  How convenient he left out the fact he was FIRST contacted by the private attorney!   Even his own response to IDFPR points to his communication with them being done based on assertions coming from Josh Feagans, attorney for Herricane Graphics.

Never to his knowledge did they represent themselves as an Architect – How did he know how they represented themselves in 2012?  He acknowledged in the questioning that he did not seek out any such information from those present when the contract was initiated.

Thought the form gave the college greater protection.  – We have spoken with several attorneys and none of them can point to how this particular contract provides greater protection to the college.  This claim makes no sense!  What makes sense is the board packet claims it was not required to be bid out and calls it a design contract, however, that whole process did not follow requirements outlined in the law and failed to disclose Carla Burkhart was named the Project Manager in the contract.  Project Management should have been bid out.

He claimed he CRAFTED the letter to IDFPR!   –  The attorney for Herricane sent him a draft of what to say and we proved that in this article All indications point to Josh Feagans drafting the letter, not Bruce Schmiedl

Believes Dr. Collins shared it with Hamilton.  We can’t attest to what he believes but we have confirmed former Chair Hamilton was never made aware of the crafted letter, nor was COD legal counsel.

The initiative started before I started at the college. – Then how can you sign a letter stating they did not hold themselves out as an architect when the contract was signed.   He has no clue what they did when it was signed because he was not working there.

Entered into that type of contract because they were entering into a design contract – How convenient they left out that it designated her as the PROJECT MANAGER and the Project Designer.  Paragraph 12.1 of the contract outlines that Carla Burkhart is the Project Manager.  It continues with specific requirements for the Architect, which is Herricane Graphics according to the contract.   “Assignment of field representatives and other Architect’s personnel to the Project shall be at the discretion of the Architect, subject to change at the reasonable request of the Owner and shall be added to the project team when and as needed.”

Required a tighter set of professional activities?   – Yeah, named her as PROJECT MANAGER, which should have been put out for bid.

 Herricane was the ONLY graphics person working at COD.  – And the very question that no one seems to want to answer is how did she FIRST get any job at COD?  What process was used to select her over anyone else?  They try to cite professional service and/or having unique qualifications yet there is no record of any process that Herricane Graphics had to go through any such selection process. 

I have to believe it was my predecessor that did this.  – Have to believe?  There is no other possibility as you admitted it was done before you got there.

They never to my knowledge represented themselves to be an architect.  But since you were not there when it was entered into, you have no knowledge of what was done when it was signed and never checked with any predecessor to find out what was represented.  Thus, sending a letter saying they never represented themselves as an Architect when the contract was signed is disingenuous at best.

People with particular talent or expertise is what he ‘believes’ is the case.  – Yet they have NEVER identified the initial hiring that would have required an RFP or RFQ and from that they could identify they had such particular expertise.  It’s called the selection process and it happens BEFORE you can provide them no bid contracts.

Trustee Bernstein- “ Is there anything in the contract that would give someone who was reading it for the first time the impression they were an architect firm?

 Schmiedl-  “Oh, of Course!”

So by his own admission, COD Senior Administrator Bruce Schmiedl confirms that a person reading the contract for the first time would give them the impression that they were, in fact, an architect firm!

Throughout the questioning, Schmiedl keeps sticking to Design Services as if he is quoting from a script. Comparing the response Josh Feagans provided to COD with Schmiedl’s comments it does appear the script may very well be Feagans response to IDFPR, found in this article.

Previous counsel said it was OK to use that document. – Considering the Secretary of State Local Records Commission has stated legal opinions shall never be destroyed, I challenge COD to produce an opinion from their legal counsel that the type of AIA contract issued to Herricane Graphics received the green light

What is missing from all the responses from Schmiedl to the Trustees?

He never mentions the 2014 CONSTRUCTION MANAGEMENT contract that names Herricane Graphics as the Architect!  How convenient to leave that out!  Why is that so important you ask?

Because he acknowledges that the 2012 contract should have had the term Architect changed to read Designer.  A contract that was entered into before he arrived.  While he sells his predecessor under the bus, he failed to realize the 2014 contract was done while he was at COD and it clearly names Herricane Graphics as the Architect and it is an actual Construction Management contract that has things only the Architect can do, which is Herricane Graphics according to the contract.

If he KNOWS they are not an Architect as he claims, why would he enter them into a contract in 2014 that has specific Architectural duties?  What is becoming apparent is a clear pattern of avoiding the 2014 Construction Management contract COD entered into with Herricane Graphics on a no-bid basis.

We find it very concerning that COD employee Bruce Schmiedl, Attorney for Herricane Graphics – Josh Feagans, IDFPR, and the States Attorney all have failed to address the 2014 contract.

The question we have is why are all these people conveniently avoiding making any mention of the 2014 contract that clearly represents the most compelling case that COD issued a contract that contained Architectural obligations to a company they knew was not an Architect nor has one in their employ.

When you review the entire record on this matter beginning here, then here, here, here, and here,  it is clear a pattern of avoidance to the 2014 contract has been established and it all points to a complete failure of our system of checks and balances.

Government reform is not just about getting them to follow the law but it also requires the bad actors to be held accountable.

Who will ever be held accountable at COD for this utter failure?


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1 Comment
  • Jon
    Posted at 21:02h, 31 March

    Why did Bruce try to explain something that he knew was double talk thinking he was going to out smart the trustees in their questioning of his knowledge and his role in authoring a letter he didn’t write. ? He’s covering for someone and he may end up just folding when he’s got the chance or suffer the consequences of losing his job for saying he crafted a letter but in reality allowed Hurricane graphics attorney to draft a letter for him and sent to the Dept. of professional regulation thinking that the case was closed. Poor choice Bruce. And for the attorney, he should be reprimanded for his involvement in the scheme trying to deceive the Dept. Of Professional Regulation. These are all the insiders running for cover. Someone’s going to spill the beans very shortly. Good job Watchdogs.