A computer firm has accused the District of Columbia of awarding a $1 million equipment lease contract without competitive bidding.
Storage Technology Corp. of Louisville, Colo., filed the complaint with the U.S. General Accounting Office. It charged the contract was awarded improperly to its rival, the Memorex Corp.
Carroll Harvey, acting director of the D.C. Department of General Services, whcih awarded the contract early this month, has ordered a review of the complaint. He said neither he nor other department officials would comment yet.
Francis R. Yates, head of the D.C. Share Computer Center, for which the contract was awarded, would only say the Storage Technology charge "is not factual." The computer center is part of the city's financial management office.
The disputed contract was for automated data processing equipment, including IBM tape drives and control units. Storage Technology estimates the contract's value at $1 million.
Gerard F. Doyle, lawyer for Storage Technology, said in a letter to the GAO that the City's general Services department negotiated exclusively with Memorex, bypassing a legal requirement for open, competitive procurement.
Doyle also alleged that Memorex was illegally permitted "to make a best and final offer" to the city after learning that Storage Technology was interested in the Contract.
Moreover, Doyle said, the Memorex contract provides for Japanese-made equipment, violating a U.S. law that requires purchasing American-made goods when available.
Doyle's letter to the GAO made no accusation of wrongdoing by Memorex.
Doyle said in his letter that Yates, the computer center chief, "stated in the presence of several witnesses" that any protest of the Memorex contract "would result in [Storage Technology] being cut off from the possibility of any business from D.C. in the future." Yates denied this yesterday, saying the assertion was "taken out of context."
Under both municipal and federal procurement procedures, the comptroller general, who heads the GAO, can terminate a contract if he finds it to be wrongly awarded.