Northwest Florida businessman Bo Rivard is pushing back against claims he flexed his political connections to land state contracts for his company, Consolidated Disaster Services.
This week, a Florida Bulldog article alleged that the company landed contracts to provide personal protective equipment to the state without going through the normal bidding process.
Jay Trumbull Sr., the father of Rep. Jay Trumbull, holds a stake in Consolidated Disaster Services.
Rivard said that couldn’t be further from the truth.
According to Rivard, who also chairs the Citizens Property Insurance board, the state approached the company about procuring PPE because it was already an approved vendor for emergency supplies such as ice and bottled water that the state needs during emergencies.
During the early days of the pandemic, PPE was in short supply nationwide and the state was given the run around by several companies claiming they could fill PPE orders — at the time, Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz compared the PPE market to a “Ponzi scheme.”
As a result, Rivard said, the state went down its list of approved vendors to procure masks from a reliable source. Consolidated Disaster Services contracted with the state to provide 50,000 N95 masks.
“We’re proud to help during times of crisis whether it’s a hurricane, wildfires or even now during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Rivard told Panama City’s WMBB. “There is no conflict of interest with my business and it had absolutely nothing to do with the state asking us to help them find masks and other essential supplies during the crises. We consider it a privilege to be of service to the state and we always honor the legal and ethical requirements of any procurement.”
The Florida Bulldog article also questions the price point for the masks Consolidated Disaster Services sold — one of the earlier contracts lists a unit cost of $12.50, while others show a quoted price of $8.75.
Rivard, however, maintains the company sold the masks at cost and refunded the difference between the quoted price and the actual costs incurred by Consolidated Disaster Services. He backed up his claims with a copy of a cancelled check for $54,000 and a letter to a state financial services administrator explaining the company’s wish to sell the goods at cost.
“As we discussed, we told our contact at Emergency Management last week that given the difficulty the State has had in securing N95 masks and the wide range in prices from suppliers, CDS wanted to pass this order through to the State at our actual costs incurred,” the letter reads.