in Houston, Texas
Dallas ISD acknowledges inappropriate contact from vendor on $40 million tech contract
Monday, Dec 05, 2011, 09:39AM CST
By Steve Miller
cash

When the Dallas Independent School District yanked a $40 million technology contract from local company Delcom and handed it to Prime Systems, a Houston company, a legal battle ensued.

While that’s not so unusual, a report from Brett Shipp of WFAA in Dallas is. It features videotaped depositions that indicate that Dallas ISD acted improperly.

In the video, Dallas ISD Purchasing Director Gary Kerbow acknowledges that inappropriate contact between the district and Prime Systems took place several times during the RFP period.

Interim Dallas ISD Superintendent Alan King is also featured, and says the contact was never reported to him.

“I believe [the contact] should have been reported to Gary Kerbow for further investigation, and he should have reported it to me,” King says.

 
Dallas ISD took away the contract from Delcom, which had the lowest bid, when it discovered that the ex-husband of Delcom’s owner had a felony conviction in 1997. State law requires public vendors to disclose such convictions, which Delcom didn’t do.

The contract then went to second-best bidder Prime Systems, which is also a contractor with Houston and Austin ISDs. The tip on the felony conviction came to the school district from former trustee Ron Price, who told Shipp that he was passing along an “anonymous tip.”

It’s a thick plot with an even thicker court file, with Delcom suing DISD, Prime Systems, Price and Prime owner Hsiangpin Michael Cheng, alleging breach of contract, theft of services and theft of property.

Price, the lawsuit notes, received $25,000 in campaign donations from Frankie Wong, the Houston businessman who in 2008 was sentenced to 10 years in prison for bribery and money laundering in connection with Dallas ISD technology contracts.
 
Editor's Note: Texas Watchdog changed the wording in the second paragraph to reflect that DISD may have acted improperly in the contract at issue.

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Contact Steve Miller at 832-303-9420 or stevemiller@texaswatchdog.org.

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