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Post date: August 17 2006

State Recovers Erie County Taxpayer Funds

Attorney General Spitzer today announced that Buffalo Office Interiors, Inc. ("BOI") will pay $225,000 for to Erie County to resolve a lawsuit seeking repayment for overcharges to the county stemming from its purchase of office furniture and supplies.

Yesterday’s court ordered agreement concludes the Attorney General’s lawsuit filed in May 2004 against BOI in State Supreme Court, Erie County. The lawsuit alleged that BOI breached its contractual obligation to charge Erie County its most favored rate. Specifically, by billing the county under its bid prices rather than state contract prices BOI overcharged Erie County.

"It is imperative that companies seeking government contracts adhere to public bidding policies and terms," Spitzer said.

Under the terms of the court order, BOI will pay restitution to Erie County over a period of five years, accelerating based on BOI’s financial condition. In addition, since filing the lawsuit, the county has changed its procurement policies to assure that it correctly verifies prices available through New York State’s procurement contracts.

This case was handled by Carrie H. Cohen, Chief, Public Integrity Unit, and former Assistant Attorney General Alvin Bragg. Investigator Michael Hagler assisted in the investigation.