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Ohio bid rigging investigation underway

Mark Heyne

There are questions regarding whether Ohio Department of Transportation employees followed the proper bidding procedures and allowed conspiracies between suppliers. A Hamilton County company is the first to plead guilty.

According to Attorney General Mike DeWine, Quattro Inc, a seller of traffic control devices, wasn't playing by the rules. The company worked with a co-conspirator to submit prearranged quotes to ODOT and at other times submitted multiple quotes from itself and related companies. The guilty pleas from the company and its sales manager Timothy O'Brien are the first criminal antitrust convictions in Ohio in 30 years. A report from the Office of the Inspector General blames ODOT purchasers for ignoring state bidding policies and procedures. DeWine urges all state and county agencies to remain vigilant.

"The Government does business with thousands and thousands of people and most of them are very honest small business people and they do a great great job and the fact that there are a lot of them out there means we get cheaper prices and everything is good. But every once in a while you get a bad apple and we've got to find these bad apples."

DeWine wouldn't comment on the larger statewide investigation. The report said nine companies involved in transactions were reviewed. It's unclear if any more suppliers or state workers will be charged.