Orange County attorney shoots down allegations of wrong-doing tied to no-bid contract
Orange County’s top attorney is shooting down allegations of wrong-doing after several lawmakers questioned a six-figure no-bid contract for the relative of another high-ranking county official.
County Attorney Richard Golden tells News 12 that the IT services contract with StarCIO and its owner, Isaac Sacolick, had nothing to do with the county’s commissioner of human resources Langdon Chapman and was fully legal.
Chapman is Sacolick’s brother-in-law and was the former county attorney.
Golden says Chapman was not involved in procuring or approving the contract, and that it is not subject to bidding or a request for proposal (RFP) process.
“It doesn’t raise ethics concerns or questions unless you want to say that we should change the rules,” says Golden. “But by changing the rules, you have to realize some intended and unintended consequences. You would significantly reduce the pool of potential employees, potential contractors, if we prohibited the relationship of all 2,600 employees or so.”
Golden says that two other companies were considered before StarCIO was chosen as the lowest bidder, and that the county has done business with relatives of employees before.
Documents obtained from the county by News 12 show StarCIO has received $432,640 since January for services rendered in monthly, five-figure payments.
“Somebody could say they don’t like that, and I can understand that, but if they don’t like it, then the rules should be changed so that we are not just saying I don’t like it in this instance, but I think it’s OK in another instance,” says Golden.
Three county legislators first raised concerns with the no-bid contract last week.
State Sen. James Skoufis, the chairman of the New York State Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee, says the contract is a “corrupt, taxpayer-funded betrayal of constituents,” and has since called on Chapman to resign.
Golden says the StarCIO contract expires in January and that additional monthly payments are expected to be paid out until then. He says the county is in the process of conducting interviews to hire an internal IT service professional to oversee the county’s growing needs.