...Emails between Amplify and district officials show company leaders offered to help with the project before the district sought bids for it...
"the practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group
at the expense of another."
That’s a move at least one expert said he skips to avoid the appearance of favoritism.
...Communications Director Cynthia Shah-Khan made a similar comment in a separate message, but added they should be careful “not to make it appear that we have a vendor selected, since we don’t.”
...In an April 9 email, Terrence Young, the district’s chief information officer, warned Amplify officials that board members would have questions at an April 11 presentation... He offered advice on what board members might ask.
District officials were ready to recommend the board award a contract to Amplify.
LeCroy Educational Furniture and Technology's Gary LeCroy said he didn’t know anyone in the district before submitting a bid [and] he feels the district’s bid request was “written for a particular product,” but didn’t specify."
Schools Amplify Tablet Collusion
"On April 22, [Ampify's] Hamilton wrote Cynthia Shah-Khan, attaching an Amplify press release and asking for a quote from Green. That wouldn’t have been difficult, because Hamilton provided a suggested quote – words to put in Green’s mouth.
The quote would have been: “Guilford County Schools chose the Amplify Tablet because it was clear to us that this is a company that gets K-12 education in a way that no one else does,” said Guilford County Schools Superintendent Mo Green. “Our teachers wanted devices that would help improve instruction. And the district wanted the ability to easily manage the entire fleet hassle free. The Amplify Tablet will allow us to do both.”
...All the administrators involved decided they didn’t like the message and didn’t want to do Amplify’s marketing for them.
On April 17, Rod Malone, of the Raleigh law firm Tharrington Smith LLP, wrote, in an email that was forwarded to Guilford County Schools, about the claim of a Wake County Public School System contract with Amplify. The firm represents the Wake school system.
“We got a call from the lawyer for Guilford County Schools,” Malone wrote. “They are negotiating a contract with a company called Amplify … They claim to have a similar contract with Wake. I do not recognize the name. Do you know if you have such a contract?”
Wake County Public School System Chief Business Officer David Neter responded that the school system was working to get a free trial of Amplify tablets.
“We have had NO conversations with Amplify about the purchase of their products, nor have we entered into any type of purchase contract,” Neter wrote. “Would like to know if Amplify is representing this as it sounds like they are?”
On April 23, Young responded, “?,” and Guilford County school board attorney Wilson responded, “This is a little concerning to me.”
O’Connell answered Young’s “?” with, “Sorry if I led anyone to think this was an existing contract. That was never mind [sic] intent.”
"Collusion is an agreement between two or more parties, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage.
It is an agreement among firms or individuals to divide a market, set prices, limit production or limit opportunities.
It can involve "...misrepresenting the independence of the relationship between the colluding parties".
In legal terms, all acts affected by collusion are considered void."