County report finds no wrongdoing in StarCIO IT contract

Goshen. The report was issued after Sen. James Skoufis accused the county of nepotism.

| 06 Mar 2024 | 11:58

A special committee formed by the Orange County Legislature to investigate claims of nepotism within county government recently issued a 220-page report that found no wrongdoing by county officials.

The nepotism allegations came from the office of State Sen. James Skoufis, who claimed that Orange County’s IT service contract was awarded to StarCIO because the company’s CEO, Isaac Sacolick, is the brother-in-law of Orange County Human Resources Commissioner Langdon Chapman.

According to the report by the Committee to Review Information Technology Contracts, the contract and the accompanying amendments were not only signed appropriately, but they were procured appropriately. Pursuant to the Procurement Policy, if services fall within the threshold amount between $25,000.01 and $99,999.99, other quotes “may” be received, but it is not necessary.

The report also says that three quotes were obtained before the StarCIO contract was procured.

Skoufis’s office conducted an investigation independently of the state senate’s investigative committee and alleged that county officials ignored competitive bidding requirements by inking StarCIO to a $65,000, two-month agreement to exceed the bidding threshold of $100,000. The contract lists a duration of six months and has auto-renewal language. The contract also allegedly waives the right to cancellation.

According to the Committee’s report, in addressing the County Ethics Law, there is a provision that deals with anti-nepotism as it pertains to hiring but not with regard to awarding contracts.

“Even if one were to equate hiring with the procurement of a contract, which is out of context here, the Ethics Code only prohibits the person who is related from being part of the selection process and they cannot be overseeing the relative directly or indirectly,” county attorney Richard Golden is quoted as saying in the report. “This did not happen here.”

The report states that Golden was advised by Orange County Director of Operations and Cost Control Alicia D’Amico that Sacolick was Chapman’s brother-in-law when it appeared that the IT contract would go to StarCIO, and D’Amico asked if this posed any problems. From a legal point of view, according to the report, Golden advised that it posed no problems whatsoever and there was no legal prohibition from awarding the contract to StarCIO.

Furthermore, according to the report, Golden was advised that Chapman “would not be part of the selection process and he further confirmed, in recent weeks, that Chapman had absolutely nothing to do with the selection of StarCIO.”

In recent months, the FBI has also subpoenaed the county for all records related to StarCIO, which has allegedly received approximately $822,000 in county funds for IT services.

In response to the Committee’s report, Skoufis stood by his claims, adding, “I have said from the start that law enforcement will be the final arbiter of criminality. I am grateful the FBI is thoroughly investigating the matter.”

When asked about the FBI’s investigation, Golden said this week that any and all documents pertaining to StarCIO that have been requested by the FBI have been turned over in timely fashion.