Lawmakers question 6-figure Orange County contract with relative of top official
A state lawmaker is calling for a top Orange County official to resign after a six-figure contract was awarded to their relative.
Three democratic legislators – Michael Paduch, Genesis Ramos and Laurie Tautel – first raised ethics questions surrounding the county deal with the IT company StarCIO last week after they determined the company is owned by the brother-in-law of county Human Resources Commissioner Langdon Chapman.
News 12 obtained a copy of the agreement and payment receipts that show Isaac Sacolick and his business received $432,640 in monthly five-figure payments since January for IT services.
County Attorney Richard Golden says the contract is exempt from the bidding and RFP process under state law due to the nature of the professional services being provided, and that Chapman was not involved in the review or selection of StarCIO. Golden says the hiring of relatives is only prohibited when a related officer or employee participates in the hiring process.
“The county’s hiring of even close relatives is not prohibited. Indeed, close relatives of legislators and other county employees, have been hired by the county, and properly so,” says Golden.
State Sen. James Skoufis, chair of the Senate Investigations and Government Operations Committee, however, says the contract is unethical and is calling on Chapman, who was formerly the county attorney, to step down.
“This brazen effort to enrich Langdon Chapman’s family is a corrupt, taxpayer-funded betrayal of my constituents,” says Skoufis. “Regardless of what title he holds, Mr. Chapman is well known as the individual who runs the day-to-day operations of Orange County government.”
Golden says StarCIO was chosen after receiving three quotes for professional IT services.
News 12 reached out to StarCIO for comment but didn’t immediately receive a response.