Audit: Office Depot not scamming Hillsborough

03/18/09 Mitch E. Perry
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After various localities and states – including Florida – began investigations last year on allegations that Office Depot was guilty of fraudulent pricing and overcharging on government contracts, Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White requested that the county conduct its own investigation to determine whether it had also been ripped off by the national retailer.

But today, a County Auditor said that he had reviewed more than 15,000 transactions for the last six months of last year, and found nothing egregious.

Dan Potto is with the Hillsborough Clerk of the Circuit Court County’s Audit Department. He said his office did discover some items for which the County overpaid, but he said that was offset by discounts on other purchases.

But White wasn’t satisfied that the review had been thorough enough.

The Clerk’s office conducted the audit after White suggested that the county’s Internal Performance Auditor was too busy. But after declaring that he thought that more investigation was necessary, White suggested that the two departments work together on a follow up.

But Dan Potto with the Clerk of the Court’s office told White that a second report simply wasn’t necessary.

But White would not back down. He then asked Jim Barnes from the county’s Internal Auditor’s office if he thought the Clerk of the Court’s report was satisfactory.

Barnes said he had been in contact with the local whistleblower who brought the charges up initially with Commissioner White, and had actually reviewed Potto’s report with him.

The other Commissioners agreed with Potto. The Board then voted unanimously 7-0 to accept the report as given.

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