[UPDATED] Takin' Care of Business: For Office Depot, Does That Mean Cheating Florida Cities? | The Daily Pulp | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

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[UPDATED] Takin' Care of Business: For Office Depot, Does That Mean Cheating Florida Cities?

Looks like Office Depot, which is based in Boca Raton, has a major scandal on its hands. A former senior account executive named David Sherwin has accused the office supply retailer of overcharging governments across the country, and there's talk of a grand jury investigation in Florida.

Judging by the article in the Naples Daily News, Sherwin left his former workplace with a juicy batch of documents, yet he's struggled to convince governments like Collier County's to perform audits to determine whether they were cheated.

Though Sherwin asserts the Collier district's lack of response is the worst he has heard of yet, the fact is most agencies purchasing from Office Depot reacted similarly upon learning of Sherwin's allegations through media reports and his relentless nationwide campaign of e-mails, faxes and telephone calls.
Among the Broward cities that responded to Sherwin, Pembroke Pines

in March released this audit, which determined that he was correct in saying that the company had changed its pricing structure without the city's consent, resulting in overcharging of $13,533.44. It found that Office Depot had overcharged the charter schools another $3,600.

UPDATE: Oops, looks like the South Florida Business Journal has been all over this story. In March, the city of Berkeley, California, filed suit, alleging over a quarter million in over-billings. This article about a lawsuit from an Office Depot client in Nashville suggests governments aren't alone in crying foul.

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Thomas Francis

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