New York State once barred a marketing company that received two no-bid contracts from Nassau County from doing municipal work, citing violations that occurred during a period it was a county vendor, records show.
BluChip Marketing LLC was on the state Workers’ Compensation Board debarment list from June 28, 2014, to June 28, 2015. The Hauppauge-based firm was listed “for failure to provide disability insurance” between June 1, 2013, and Sept. 1, 2014, a board spokesman said.
The violation period coincides with the last three months of the company’s first Nassau contract, and the entire six-month term of its second. The board didn’t provide further details on the violations, including whether they related to BluChip’s work for Nassau.
Businesses on the debarment list are restricted from “bidding on, or being awarded,” any municipal or public contract. Nassau executed BluChip’s second contract in July 2014, several weeks after the company was debarred.
BluChip’s county contracts, issued for amounts just below the threshold requiring legislative approval, came under scrutiny following a reported exchange of sexually suggestive texts between Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and company president Karin Murphy Caro.
On Thursday, the Nassau County Police Department said an investigation determined the texts were a “hoax.”
The contracts remain under investigation by Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas, who has issued subpoenas for the contracts, sources said.
Asked about BluChip’s debarment, county officials said they did not at the time ask vendors in specialty contracts for such information.
“Contract reforms were put in place to require vendor disclosures of this type in July 2015,” said County Attorney Carnell Foskey.
Caro said: “I keep my insurance up to date and have never been notified of not having coverage.”
BluChip received its first no-bid contract, for $24,500, to promote Nassau’s film industry. Parks department officials justified the pact, which ran from March 1, 2013, to Aug. 30, 2013, by citing the firm’s “unique experience.”
The parks department granted the second no-bid contract, for $24,000, to “promote Nassau County” between Jan. 1, 2014, and June 30, 2014. Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker signed that pact on July 10, meaning it was not formally awarded — and the firm paid — until after work was done.
“The contract process can be lengthy,” Foskey said when asked why the county executed the pact after its term had expired.
Caro has defended her Nassau contracts, saying she worked “very, very hard” promoting projects including the Long Beach International Film Festival and a veterans’ salute that placed 1,500 flags in front of the county’s executive and legislative building.