Thursday, April 15, 2021

More Health Department woes: Attorney General suing to get money back from bad orders

In the panic of the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Oklahoma seems to have made a series of bad purchase decisions, two of which have resulted in the Attorney General being forced to sue to get the state's money back.

Back in January, AG Mike Hunter filed a petition in district court for over $1.8 million over a personal protective equipment order that a company never delivered to the Oklahoma Department of Health. The Attorney General's press release notes that said company "was formed on March 23, the same day the first purchase order was made by the Department of Health." That should have set off alarm bells, but we are talking the Oklahoma Department of Health: they don't have a good financial track record.

The latest lawsuit is in regard to an order of nearly $900,000 for 40 ventilators in April 2020, of which only two were delivered by June. The order was canceled in October, but a portion of the original order was finally delivered in December. What a mess.

Attorney General Hunter Sues Distribution Company for Not Delivering Ventilators

OKLAHOMA CITY (April 13th) – Attorney General Mike Hunter has filed a lawsuit against A&K Distributors for failing to deliver an order of ventilators to the Oklahoma State Department of Health at the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic.

In the lawsuit, the state claims the Oklahoma State Department of Health paid over $890,000 for 40 ventilators last April. The company had only delivered two ventilators by June 2020. 

Despite canceling the order in October, the company had 21 ventilators delivered in December. The Oklahoma State Department of Health returned the wrongfully delivered ventilators but has not received a refund.

Attorney General Hunter said legal action is needed when companies do not uphold their end of contracts with the government.

“We tried actions out of court to get the state’s money back,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Unfortunately, A&K Distributors has left us no option. It is unlawful for any company to behave this way. It shouldn’t take the state pulling the order and threatening a lawsuit to get our products. The state canceled the order, and we want our money back, period. That is how business transactions work.”

Read the filing here


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