Big Box News: California & Ohio Join Other States in Office Depot investigation

According to EarthTimes.org, “Office Depot has disclosed on its investor website that the Attorneys General of California and Ohio have launched civil fraud investigations into its $700 million dollar “U.S. Communities” national contract that thousands of local governments, school districts and public institutions draw upon to purchase office and school supplies. California and Ohio join Colorado, Florida, Missouri and Texas in opening such investigations.”

According to today’s article, the National Office Products Alliance (NOPA) called upon the Office of the Attorney General of California to include in its investigation of Office Depot a thorough examination of the role played by the Walnut Creek, CA-based U.S. Communities organization which has allegedly received as much as $20 million in “kickback” payments from Office Depot for sponsoring the national contract now under investigation in six states.

According to NOPA, the article states, these two new investigations (CA and OH) again highlight the inherent problems associated with reliance on a single office supplies contracts by government agencies at all levels. “Strategic sole-source contracting has damaged competitive independent small businesses around the country, reducing vendor choice and raising prices for government customers,” said Chris Bates, President of NOPA. “The idea that sole-source contracting offers a ‘best value’ proposition should be questioned by every federal, state and local government and institutional entity in light of the results from so many audits and investigations.”

For more on this issue, find the full article here.

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