DuPage Co. (ECWd) -
For months we exposed College of DuPage's relationship with COD Foundation Board member Carla Burkhart and her no bid contracts with her company named Herricane Graphics. We heard excuse after excuse from trustees and the Foundation that included claims Burkhart had worked for the college long before becoming a Foundation board member. (Click her to select any of the many articles we published on this insider pay to play operation)
Turns out, even after hiring the high dollar Public Relations firm and wasting over $50,000.00 of tax payer money, COD was still unable to dispute a single thing we reported as it relates to Herricane Graphics. In fact, after the Chicago Tribune started hitting on some of the same points, we see that COD turned to the PR firm for help, which they were unable to provide because the bottom line is, the truth can't be spun when documents back it up!
An e-mail from the PR firm to Tom Glaser:
"Because we talked about it, I wanted to follow up and let you know that the Tribune story about Herricane will be online sometime between 9-10am tomorrow and on the front page of Sunday’s print edition. It will not be positive.
That’s because despite numerous requests for documents and information, the Tribune never received anything to back up the college’s claims that $500,000 in no-bid contracts to Herricane were done properly. They also quote several state procurement officials who say there is no question this should have been bid out and appears to have been done on an AIA contract solely to avoid bidding. And they quote state officials who say Herricane is now under investigation for this work.
They will also report that the college and foundation are unable to verify Herricane claims that she had been doing work for the college for years before being appointed to the foundation board. In fact, invoices show it was just a few months. And they say there is no record that Herricane has been hired by any other state agencies or colleges for similar work.
They will also report that while COD says the first payment was made to Herricane in 2010, COD FOIA officer says there is no record of that payment. And Herricane says they’ve been getting payments since 2003. But COD’s FOIA officer says there is no record of that.
The complete lack of information and inconsistency in documents or statements will be the take-away.
Without facts to counter that, there’s not much we can do to property address things.
As a result, they have no interest in discussing imprest funds or anything beyond these ongoing issues.
I’m meeting with Res tomorrow to discuss this further and identify a plan to quickly address these ongoing problems.
Feel free to call me tomorrow if you’d like to discuss further, but I wanted to make you aware.
Thanks - Steve
Steve Patterson Vice President "
We exposed the wrongs committed by Carla Burkhart and her lack of being an architect along with the no bid contract pay to play appearance with her being a Foundation Board member. All of that reporting was done because of a whistle blower that stated very clearly, they were TOLD to utilize Carla Burkhart, regardless of price, for Foundation relationship purposes. We knew it was wrong and proved it with our reporting. Now, e-mails from the PR firm appear to validate that they could not spin the story because "without facts to counter that, there’s not much we can do to property address things."
Thank you Res Publica for exposing and validating what we reported on COD. For those that want to question this as not being validation, rest assured if COD had the information to disprove the claims being made they would have provided them to the PR firm.