Department of Central Management Services violated code by swapping leases, OEIG finds
An investigation by the Illinois Office of the Executive Inspector General (OEIG) has found that the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) recently violated procurement code in awarding at least two leases.
Investigators determined that CMS closed the deal in question in violation of department standards when it “swapped” the leases between two prior offers as opposed to soliciting new bids when the criteria for each had changed. With that, OEIG concluded the process “lacked transparency" and the entire bidding process was rendered contaminated.
Also at issue was whether one of the leases was improperly awarded based on the influence of William Cellini, who was legally banned from doing business with the state based on a 2011 conviction for corruption. Cellini was convicted that year in connection with an attempted shakedown of an Oscar-winning film producer on behalf of then Gov. Rod Blagojevich. According to ABC News, the purported scheme stood to net somewhere in the neighborhood of $1.5 million.
While the OEIG probe did not find sufficient evidence of Cellini’s involvement, investigators highlighted his presence on email correspondence involving a deal where his son-in-law was also involved. OEIG investigators also concluded that Irvin “Chip” Smith, another CMS employee, improperly communicated confidential pricing information.