SUPPLY COMPANY SUES STATE OVER DEAL

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SUPPLY COMPANY SUES STATE OVER DEAL

 user 2006-04-24 at 10:14:00 am Views: 60
  • #15098

    Supply company sues state over deal
    CHARLOTTE,
    N.C. | A lawsuit challenging the state’s six-year contract for
    providing staplers, ink cartridges and paper clips contends North
    Carolina decided to overpay for office supplies by as much as $10.8
    million.
    Lawyers for Broomfield, Colo.-based Corporate Express said
    the consulting firm North Carolina hired to guide the state on the
    contract had done millions of dollars worth of business for winning
    bidder Office Depot in recent years.
    Corporate Express said in the
    challenge scheduled to be heard by an administrative law judge in
    Raleigh on Tuesday that state contracting officials rejected its bid
    for the business, which it said was the lowest, in favor of an $18.2
    million-a-year contract with Delray Beach, Fla.-based Office Depot.
    “Corporate
    Express was surprised and disappointed when the entire state government
    office supplies contract went to a higher priced supplier,” Hampton
    Dellinger, a lawyer representing Corporate Express, said Friday.
    State
    officials said in court filings in the case filed in January that their
    selection process got North Carolina the best deal, not the lowest
    price. Lawyers for the state and Office Depot said the bid process
    followed the law.
    The state “has never awarded a state contract
    based on price alone,” state purchasing officer Mike Mangum said in one
    deposition.
    Lawyers for the state also said it was N.C. officials
    and not Accenture, the consulting firm that helped the state structure
    the selection process and solicit bids, who decided who got the
    contract.
    Accenture has a long business relationship with Office
    Depot. Since 2003, Office Depot has paid $30 million to Accenture for
    projects to help the company manage inventory and overhaul its
    merchandising system.
    Accenture didn’t disclose that Office Depot is one of its clients, a potential conflict of interest.
    Jim
    Bard, an Accenture official, said in a deposition that he wasn’t aware
    of his company’s ties to Office Depot when he helped the state with the
    office supplies bid.
    He knew Accenture had a relationship with Staples, another bidder, but didn’t tell state officials.
    Corporate
    Express argues that it should have received additional points in the
    state’s evaluation for guaranteeing next-day delivery anywhere in the
    state.
    Office Depot guaranteed two-day delivery.