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Audit: NC DOT bought $175,000 in supplies from unapproved vendor

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- The state auditor says Department of Transportation was wrong to have bought office supplies from a vendor not included in the omnibus state office supply contract.

Auditors found 595 purchases from the vendor between April 2003 and August 2006 totaling $175,000. Those buys violated purchasing and contract rules.

The investigation was in response to an allegation about purchases in the department's testing and materials unit. The audit report did not identify the vendor.

Purchases should have been made with an approved vendor that had agreed to a term contract, in which items are sold to state agencies at set prices to avoid numerous deals and create cost savings.

The unit supervisor told auditors he did business with the unapproved vendor because it was faster and DOT hadn't emphasized term contracts until 2006. But the report says he also acknowledged knowing company leaders and having a social relationship with an employee at the firm.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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