State University of New York

College at Old Westbury: Services Provided by Hudson Design

Between January 1, 1997 and June 30, 2001, the College at Old Westbury hired a private company called Hudson Design to (1) develop a plan for the Collegeís physical layout, (2) work with another private company in performing an in-depth study of the Collegeís growing facility needs, and (3) provide interior design services for the College Presidentís office. The College paid Hudson Design a total of $107,628 for its work on these three projects, with the payment of an additional $20,682 pending at the time of our audit. In addition, during the same period, Hudson Design was paid about $93,000 by the State University Construction Fund to perform a program study for a police training facility at the College. The process used by the Construction Fund in awarding that contract is addressed in our report 2001-S-29, which was issued in November 2001. In this report, we examined the process used by the College in hiring and paying Hudson Design for its work on the three preceding projects.

We found that, in hiring Hudson Design, College officials either failed to comply with competitive requirements or failed to document the reasons why the company was hired. For example, even though a competitive process was used for one of the projects, College officials did not document why they asked the top ranked firm to share the contract with the Hudson Design, which was the eleventh ranked firm. A result of these inappropriate and unsupported actions is the appearance of favoritism toward Hudson Design in the award of State-funded projects. At the time of our audit, the circumstances surrounding Hudson Designís involvement in projects at the College were being investigated by the State Inspector Generalís Office, and shortly before our report was issued, the Inspector General issued a report stating that the award of the projects to Hudson Design was influenced by longstanding personal friendships between College officials and the principal official of Hudson Design. In our examination of the payments made to Hudson Design for its work on the three projects, we found that the payments were supported by documentation indicating satisfactorily completed work.

For a complete copy of Report 2001-S-38 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.