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 user 2009-02-10 at 2:55:07 pm Views: 63
  • #21542
    Missouri AG investigating Office Depot
    Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster has launched a statewide probe into Boca Raton-based Office Depot over allegations of fraudulent pricing and overcharging on government contracts.After learning from other states and their attorneys general about Office Depot’s alleged bait-and-switch pricing and overcharging, Koster launched his own investigation shortly after he took office last month.

    His office has sent a request for documents to the office supply company.
    “The state of Missouri will not tolerate fraud or the taking advantage of unsuspecting government agencies and nonprofits in our state,” Koster said. “We’re going to look aggressively at Office Depot’s records and, if necessary, get restitution on behalf of the people of Missouri.”

    The investigation follows others in Florida and North Carolina, the National Office Products Alliance said on Tuesday. All three investigations are based on the testimony of David Sherwin, a whistle-blower and former Office Depot manager in Florida.The investigations concern allegations associated with Office Depot’s participation as the sole vendor on a nationwide federal contract for office and classroom supplies worth $700 million a year.

    State, county and municipal government agencies and school districts in all 50 U.S. states participate in that contract, the association said.Several state governments also use the contract as a new purchasing option for state agency employees.“In some cases, this step has been taken as an alternative to rebidding state office supplies contracts, a decision that has prevented independent dealers from fairly competing for government business, while denying government agencies and taxpayers the benefits of ongoing competition,” the association said in a statement.

    Office Depot said in a prepared statement that it will vigorously defend any allegations of wrongdoing lodged against the company and “will fully cooperate with the Missouri attorney general’s office, as we do in all government and regulatory inquiries.”Office Depot shares closed Tuesday at $1.92. The 52-week high was $14.95 on Feb. 12. The 52-week low was $1.45 on Nov. 21.