GOSHEN – Senator James Skoufis (D-Orange County) gathered with state and county legislators at the Orange County Government Center to reveal shocking findings of a pervasive corruption scandal within the county administration. Alarming evidence raises serious questions about the conduct of several high-ranking county officials, and points to a web of illicit no-bid contracts involving technology firm StarCIO, which funneled nearly $823,000 to the family of Human Resources Commissioner and former County Attorney Langdon Chapman.
Of particular focus were glaring inconsistencies identified within each of the three no-bid contracts awarded to StarCIO. Senator Skoufis revealed that the initial contract signed in January 2023 – covering a 16-day, low-accountability work arrangement over eight weeks – carried a price tag of $65,000 and was automatically renewed five times without ever going out for bid, despite topping $260,000. Even more troubling: the payments were directed to one individual, StarCIO’s president and the brother-in-law of Langdon Chapman, Isaac Sacolick. The county further contracted with his firm twice more by August of 2023, for an additional $562,900.
The practice of no-bid contracting exists only as a last resort to allow entities to expeditiously submit quotes directly to government administration and bypass procedures that all businesses must go through when providing services to the government. This is only allowed when urgency and specialized subject matter expertise are major factors.
The alleged rationale of outsourcing work to StarCIO was for “transitional” IT services, while the administration sought permanent hires to fill the county’s newly created IT services department. Yet, StarCIO’s contract was set to auto-renew, perpetually extending every eight weeks for multiple cycles with minimal oversight.
Two additional contracts further underscored the administration’s bias and careless distribution of hundreds of thousands of dollars to StarCIO. Each contract required the signed approval of several different county officials. Despite all parties involved failing to address StarCIO’s expired liability insurance, lack of legitimate office address, and decades-delinquent LLC business registration, county leadership carelessly greenlit the grift.
A crucial detail in the first contract was a box checked off by county officials stating that, given the contract’s sub-$100,000 valuation, this procurement of services only required the county to seek three quotes, not engage in a proper public bidding process. When pressed, the county released the three supposed quotes: one from StarCIO that was tailored to Orange County’s desired scope of work, a generalized PDF from Securance Consulting, and a generalized PDF from a company called Gartner. The latter two are easily searchable online. Securance confirmed the county had in fact sought a proposal, but not until August, well after the first contract was already awarded. Gartner, on the other hand, could find no record of a formal proposal ever being submitted to Orange County.
By further rubber-stamping ‘extensions’ of this original contract for professional services, StarCIO’s take has ballooned to a staggering $822,900. The maneuver was a deliberate attempt to circumvent the legal requirement to submit a request for proposal (RFP), which, as stipulated by the law, is mandatory for any proposals above $99,999.00. These aforementioned actions are indisputable violations of state law.
“Chapman’s $200,000-a-year role as the county’s Human Resources Commissioner is specifically designed to recruit new staff and fill vacancies. And, as a long-time facet of the County Executive’s inner circle, not a single substantial action is taken without his sign-off.” said Skoufs. “It’s literally his job to fill the vacant role of Chief Information Officer, yet here we are, 10 months later with nearly a million dollars funneled to his family, and no permanent IT professional having been hired. Mr. Chapman needs to immediately resign in disgrace.”
“My colleagues and I are calling for the immediate resignation of Langdon Chapman and the cancellation of the contract with StarCIO.” said County Legislator Genesis Ramos.
“Corruption should not be tolerated in Orange County, and we will not turn a blind eye to it. It is disheartening to see those in power abuse their authority and take advantage of taxpayers’ hard-earned money while many people in our community struggle to make ends meet. We are committed to diligently uncovering the truth behind this scheme.”
The county attorney, Mr. Golden, responded, the county followed the law.
On Monday, Skoufis filed a criminal referral with both the Attorney General and the Federal Bureau of Investigations regarding the alleged corruption scandal.