Contract Protest Prompts Review; Advertising Firm Raises Conflict of Interest Issues over $20 Million Deal

By Dixon, Drew | The Florida Times Union, July 27, 2012 | Go to article overview

Contract Protest Prompts Review; Advertising Firm Raises Conflict of Interest Issues over $20 Million Deal


Dixon, Drew, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Drew Dixon

A Jacksonville City Hall committee wants a detailed review of a $20 million Tourism Development Council contract recommendation being challenged by a local advertising firm.

City Assistant General Counsel Tim Horkan told the Professional Services Evaluation panel Thursday he didn't see a blatant conflict of interest in giving the five-year contract to Visit Jacksonville, as alleged by the Brunet-Garcia Advertising agency. But he said there are "obviously some very serious accusations."

Instead of voting on the validity of the protest, Horkan advised the panel to postpone any action until the Tourism Development Council and the city's procurement department review it.

Jorge Brunet-Garcia filed a protest, claiming the contract was granted despite two of Visit Jacksonville's former officers, Fred Pozin and M.G. Orender, being on the subcommittee that made the decision. Brunet-Garcia finished second among the five firms that bid for the contract that still has to be confirmed by the City Council.

Brunet-Garcia said Thursday he didn't believe that Pozin and Orender intentionally misled the bidders, but they also didn't disclose their previous associations with Visit Jacksonville. …

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