FBI subpoenas records related to county IT contract

Orange County. State Sen. James Skoufis has issued a report alleging that the contract was granted to IT company StarCIO because the owner is the brother-in-law of HR Commissioner Langdon Chapman.

| 17 Jan 2024 | 12:22

On the heels of a recent report by State Sen. James Skoufis (D-42), chair of the State Senate Committee on Investigations and Government Operations, alleging corruption in the granting of an IT contract for the county, the FBI has subpoenaed all records related to StarCIO, which has allegedly received approximately $822,000 in county funds for IT services.

As State Senator Skoufis’ report states, the owner of StarCIO, Isaac Sacolick, is the brother-in-law of Orange County Human Resources Commissioner Langdon Chapman. Skoufis, who conducted the investigation independently from the Committee on Investigations itself, has alleged for months that nepotism caused county officials to ignore competitive bidding requirements by inking StarCIO to a $65,000, two-month agreement to exceed the bidding threshold of $100,000. According to the report, the contract lists a duration of six months and has auto-renewal language. The contract also allegedly waives the right to cancellation.

“In the face of the county government’s months-long deception and ‘nothing to see here’ attitude following my office’s work to expose their corruption, I’ve repeatedly stated law enforcement would be the final arbiter on criminality,” Skoufis said Jan. 12 in a prepared statement. “Make no mistake — this is the biggest scandal in Orange County government’s recent history. I am thankful for the FBI’s involvement on behalf of my constituents.”

When asked to comment on the allegations back in December, Chapman denied any wrongdoing in the matter.

Skoufis’ report alleged the original contract, which was executed in January 2023, called for transition services until a permanent CIO (Chief Information Officer) was hired. The report noted county officials never attempted to hire for the position at the end of the two-month contract period and filled it in November 2023 after concerns over the contract were raised.

Regarding the FBI’s request, Justin Rodriguez, the director of communications and media relations for Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus, said, “The FBI served a subpoena upon the county attorney for documents related to the county’s contract with StarCIO. It was directed to the county generally, to the attention of the county attorney. No individual in the county was served with a subpoena. Orange County Attorney Richard Golden stated that the county will fully comply with the subpoena’s request for documents.”

Rodriguez added that Golden has not yet responded to the Orange County Legislature regarding Sen. Skoufis’ report, though he plans to before the end of January.