Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lawsuit Raises New Concerns about St. Louis County Marketing Contract

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lawsuit Raises New Concerns about St. Louis County Marketing Contract

Article excerpt

CLAYTON * A St. Louis County Council member said Monday that a lawsuit filed against the owner of a marketing firm on the cusp of receiving a $360,000 contract raised new concerns about the company's ability to fulfill its obligations.

The council has scheduled a final vote today on a three-year pact that would pay Method Insights $120,000 annually to promote the park system via the Internet, direct mail, print and electronic media.

The council gave preliminary approval last week to the deal.

Since then, court papers have revealed that Jeffrey Morris, the owner of Method Insights, stands accused by a former employer of engaging in "fraudulent and illegal conduct."

Brado Creative Insights further charges in a petition filed in late August in St. Louis City Circuit Court that Morris received an $8,000 "kickback" from a Web developer at the same time the company was paying him a "substantial salary."

But it's the insinuation that Morris "formed and operated Method Insights LLC in a scheme to compete with Brado" by "misappropriating and using Brado's confidential and proprietary information" that Councilman Greg Quinn finds most troubling.

"If this suit is successful, the county will be left holding the bag paying this guy for something he can't deliver," said Quinn, R- Ballwin. Quinn was one of two council members to oppose the Method Insights contract at the Sept. 10 meeting.

In casting dissenting votes, Quinn and fellow Republican Colleen Wasinger noted that Method Insights founded in 2012 failed to meet a stipulation that bidders bring a minimum of three years experience to the parks system job.

Quinn said the lawsuit reinforced questions about Method Insights' qualifications. "This indicates the real dangers in deviating from specifications in request for proposals," the council member said. "It may well be the county will be a victim just like this lawsuit is alleging. …

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