Why does the State Department need $5.4 million worth of crystal stemware?

Hill’s aides in ‘bully’ crystal

Geoff Earle
New York Post
4/19/2010

WASHINGTON — Politically connected staffers in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department twisted arms to steer a $5.4 million contract for crystal stemware to a tiny interior-design firm without putting it out for bid — a move that shut out a well-known New York glassmaker, a department whistleblower told The Post.

Two senior State Department contracting officials, Randolph Bennett and Tandra Jones, successfully pushed for the contract to go to a firm run by Denise Mathis-Gardner as a no-bid minority “8(a)” contract, the source said — an action that one shut-out competitor complained cost taxpayers an extra $1 million.

The contracted firm, Systems Design Inc., based in Washington’s Georgetown neighborhood, had no experience making glassware, and its owner had only recently emerged from bankruptcy proceedings, the source said.

As The Post first reported last month, SDI shut out upstate’s Steuben Glass, which has made government glassware since the Truman administration.

“These two [Bennett and Jones] went down to the small-business office and insisted that we have an 8(a) company — have this company SDI do our contract,” the source said.

“They [SDI] don’t know how to make glass. The glassware is being made in Sweden.”

The article continues at the New York Post.

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