City Uniform Bidder to Be Sacked, Owner Charged By DA

The Westchester County District Attorney’s office announced the arrest, April 9, of John Holmes, owner of New England Sportswear, the White Plains uniform store to which the Rye City Council recently awarded a contract to supply police uniforms.

Published April 11, 2013 12:34 AM
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The Westchester County District Attorney’s office announced the arrest, April 9, of John Holmes, owner of New England Sportswear, the White Plains uniform store to which the Rye City Council recently awarded a contract to supply police uniforms.

  

By Tom McDermott

 

The Westchester County District Attorney’s office announced the arrest, April 9, of John Holmes, owner of New England Sportswear, the White Plains uniform store to which the Rye City Council recently awarded a contract to supply police uniforms.

 

Holmes was charged with two class “E” Felonies related to his submission of the winning bid: one count of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree; and one count of Criminal Possession of a Forged Instrument in the Second Degree.

 

The defendant is charged with submitting a fraudulent letter of warranty for products sold by Blauer Manufacturing Inc. on March 4 in support of his bid to the City of Rye. The warranty was required for all submissions. The DA said the defendant knew the warranty was not provided by Blauer and also knew that his company was not an approved supplier of Blauer products.

 

A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s office said that the tip about the fraudulent warranty came from both the manufacturer and the losing bidder. Rye Corporation Counsel Kristen Wilson confirmed that she received an email on March 25 from Steve Blauer before the City had sent a letter awarding the contract to New England Sportswear. Blauer said that his company never offered warranty coverage to the winning bidder. 

 

As City Manager Scott Pickup and Ms. Wilson made a careful side-by-side review of the two bidders’ warranty letters, they noticed enough differences to raise concern and they immediately called Rye Police Commissioner William Connors, who had received a similar email from Blauer. 

 

Connors spoke to Mr. Blauer and subsequently dispatched detectives to speak with Holmes. When Mr. Holmes refused to surrender himself voluntarily, Rye Police referred the case to the District Attorney for action. Mr. Holmes wanted legal representation before he would surrender himself to County authorities.

 

On March 28, New England Uniform LLC, the only other bidder, sent the city a letter protesting the award. 

 

The City Council voted 6-1 March 20 to award the uniform contract to New England Sportswear. Councilman Joe Sack was the lone no vote. His concern was any appearance of a conflict of interest.

 

Reacting to the subsequent arrest of Mr. Holmes, Mr. Sack told the paper that, ”Under the circumstances, it would have been advisable for city staff to verify information related to the bids.”

 

The case will be tried by the County’s Public Integrity Bureau, not due to Holmes’s police auxiliary connection, according to Lucian Chalfen of the DA’s office, but because the false warranty was part of a public bidding process.

 

Ms. Wilson said she expects the City to rescind the March 20 award and to make the award to New England Uniform LLC at the next Council Meeting, April 17.

 

 

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