BALTIMORE — Baltimore City's Inspector General (IG) released a new report Wednesday that found the Fleet Management Division (FMD) overpaid $160,000 to a contractor who had ties with management.
Throughout 2014, the IG discovered the vendor in question (Vendor 1) was sending the city significantly inflated invoices for snow equipment, specialized vehicle testing, and auto part repairs and replacements.
Turns out the city already had a contractor (Vendor 2) specifically for those duties.
But instead FMD was giving the jobs to Vendor 1.
In turn, the IG uncovered that Vendor 1 subcontracted Vendor 2 to complete the jobs they should have been handling from the beginning.
Vendor 1 allegedly concealed this from the city, and went out of their way to ask Vendor 2 to only send them an invoice, not the city.
This allowed for Vendor 1 to make money off the work of Vendor 2, who would have charged the city less under their existing contract at the time.
Invoices from Vendor 1 reviewed by the IG showed high markups on the completed work, as well as major inconsistencies about the services provided.
First the contract for Vendor 1 didn't allow for them to sell snow equipment to the city. Despite this the city still purchased thousands of dollars worth of snowplows from them.
The city apparently never ended up using the plows which happened to not even fit the trucks they were purchased for.
Second, the equipment Vendor 1 used to test vehicles was actually manufactured by Vendor 2.
Further investigation by the IG revealed the FMD head executive and manager appeared to have a conflict of interest in dealing with Vendor1 .
A relative of the FMD executive previously worked with the city before going to work for Vendor 1.
The FMD executive and manager are accused of having an arrangement with Vendor 1, that gave them personal access to the shop to work on their own vehicles.
In speaking with the IG, Vendor 1 admitted at times to inflating invoices but said some of the charges were for expenses such as travel, a claim that was contradicted by invoices provided by Vendor 2.
Vendor 1 told the IG that FMD management never did any personal work at their shop, contrary to FMD management admitting that they did.
In response to the IG's report, the City's Department of General Services said the FMD executive and manager involved are no longer working for the agency.
Future business and contracts with Vendor 1 have also been put on hold, pending further internal investigation.
The entire IG report can be read below.