School Broke The Law By Purchasing Custom-Built Table

UNION, NEW JERSEY (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey officials say that Kean University broke the law and  its own purchasing policy when it spent almost $250,000 to buy a custom-built, multimedia conference table from a Chinese company.

A report issued Wednesday by the state comptroller’s office found Kean University made the $219,000 purchase in 2014 without needed board approval or competitive bidding. It also noted that school officials paid an architect $30,000 for a full-scale plywood mock-up of the 22-foot circular table, which seats 23 people and is made of oak with cherry veneer.

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The university has said the price tag also includes lighting and electronics. Kean officials disputed the report’s findings, saying it has “significant omissions” that explain the school’s actions.

Kean spokeswoman Margaret McCorry said in a statement that the school had done its due diligence and followed state law when purchasing the table.

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“The report issued by the Office of the State Comptroller has significant omissions that explain Kean’s actions,” she said. “Kean University acted legally and with transparency throughout the process of developing the Loehning Conference Center.”

The comptroller’s office recommended more training for Kean staff and said the school should comply with the law and its own procedures.

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