Monday, July 2, 2012

Lawsuit Forces School District to Abandon Practice of Co-Op Roof Purchasing

Taxpayers scored a huge victory in Pennsylvania as another death knell tolled for the no-bid roofing scheme perpetrated by the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA). 

Nicholas Shears and Michael DuCharme, employees of Carlisle SynTec Systems, filed a lawsuit in June 2009, contending that the district’s use of a purchasing cooperative bypassed state competitive bidding laws, resulting in higher costs for taxpayers. Indiana officials associated with the AEPA were eventually deposed as witnesses in the Pennsylvania lawsuit.  The lawsuit was recently settled out-of-court after school district officials agreed to stop using the shady practice of purchasing school roof jobs via the controversial procurement method.

The scheme came to a screeching halt in Indiana in 2008 after the former Indiana Attorney General issued an official opinion declaring its illegality.  As a result, Indiana's nine educational service centers abandoned the shady practice of purchasing multi-million dollar roof jobs via the buying co-op. 

The scandalous procurement method of the AEPA gained national scrutiny after Indiana taxpayers were sued by Tremco, the Ohio-based roofing manufacturer that was awarded the sole contract for providing school roofing projects without going through a legal public bidding process as outlined by various state legislatures.  The lawsuit turned out to be a blessing in disguise as it served as a catalyst for public and law enforcement officials to look into complaints that began piling up nationwide.

Nicholas Shears and Michael DuCharme, employees of Carlisle SynTec Systems, filed the lawsuit in June 2009, contending that the district’s use of a purchasing cooperative bypassed state competitive bidding laws, resulting in higher costs for taxpayers.  Indiana officials associated with the AEPA were eventually deposed as witnesses in the Pennsylvania lawsuit.

Here's what the victors had to say to a Pennsylvania news reporter after scoring the huge victory:

"We’re glad the school district understands it can save taxpayer money by competitively bidding projects requiring roof work to ensure that the most qualified option is selected," said DuCharme, director of product marketing for the company.

"Unfortunately, the well-intended cooperative purchasing method has resulted in inflated costs due to the inherent complexity of construction work," DuCharme added.

You can read the entire story at this link.