• Report: #478449

Complaint Review: Steve Hamill, HB Capital Resources, U. S. Communities, California Communities

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  • Submitted: Tue, August 11, 2009
  • Updated: Tue, August 11, 2009

  • Reported By:Ft. Myers Florida
Steve Hamill, HB Capital Resources, U. S. Communities, California Communities
www.uscommunities.org Nationwide U.S.A.

Steve Hamill, HB Capital Resources, U. S. Communities, California Communities ---Scam to overcharge participating agencies on the office supply contract nationally: Walnut Creek, California

* : kICKBACKS THE TIES BETWEEN U.S. COMMUNITIES & OFFICE DEPOT

*Author of original report: Senior Office Depot & U.S. Communities Executives Meet to cover-up overcharging

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All agencies located at 2033 North Main Street, Suite 700
Walnut Creek, CA 94596

The U.S. Communities/Office Depot national contract for office and school supplies has been refered to as "the personal ATM of Steve Hamill".


The late-Great Walter Cronkite:
"One of the greatest tragedies of the last ten years is the near extinction of true investigative journalism, and the evaporation of a skeptical press. The results of such are the flourishing of corruption at the political and corporate level unlike anything since the days of Tammany Hall"



Amount of alleged 'Bait & Switch' overcharging on the national U.S. Communities agreement by Office Depot:
$100 million or more in overcharges per year

Amount of kickbacks from Office Depot to U.S. Communities over 3 years:
$20 million in kickbacks +



The truth about U.S. Communities, California Communities, Canadian Communities, HB Capital Resources, Law Offices of Stephen Hamill:



All of the above organizations are located at:

2033 N. Main Street, Suite 700

Walnut Creek, CA 94596



HB Capital is named for its two principals, Stephen Hamill and Jerry Burke, who operate multiple shadowy enterprises from the office in Walnut Creek. With names like "U.S. Communities", California Communities and "Canadian Communities," these firms offer a so called "public benefit" services to government and private groups.



It is strange that so many intertwined enterprises are located in the same office suite and are run by Stephen (Steve) Hamill and Jerry Burke.



More concerning is the fact the U.S. Communities has a $700 million dollar a year contract with Office Depot for office and classroom supplies.



Office Depot has provided over $20 million in kickbacks to U.S. Communities (read Stephen Hamill and his partner Jerry Burke).



When questioned by the press U.S. Communities deflected the question and stated that they receive just 2% of the annual sales from Office Depot. The contract is valued at between $600 and $700 million per year. The just 2% in fees amounts to between $12-14 million per year. That brings the alleged kickback totals to much more than the $20 million over three years



Even more concerning, three ex-senior Office Depot executives now occupy high paying management positions at U.S. Communities (Kevin Jurhing, Paul Terragno and Chris Robb).



Currently the Office Depot/U.S. Communities national contract for office and classroom supplies is under investigation for fraud by the Attorney Generals of Florida, Texas, California, Ohio, Colorado and Missouri.



In fact the organizations located in Walnut Creek (CA), are enriching themselves at taxpayer expenses.



The Orange County Register, concerning the intermingling of funds, and just what goes on at California Communities, has recently raised even more concern in an investigative report.





NOPA Reports California & Ohio Join Other States in Opening Investigations of Office Depot
Print article
Refer to a friend
Business Wire 2009
2009-07-21 20:32:04 -
Today, the National Office Products Alliance (NOPA) called upon the Office of the Attorney General of California to include in its investigation of Office Depot a thorough examination of the role played by the Walnut Creek, CA-based U.S. Communities organization which has allegedly received as much as $20 million in kickback payments from Office Depot for sponsoring the national contract now under investigation in six states.



The CEO of Office Depot Steve Odland

(the U.S. Communities Agreement) "theoretically is just a hunting license" (for the sales force)

Investors confrence call 28 July 2009



Current investigations at the State level by Attorney Generals:
Florida
California
Texas
Ohio
Missouri
Colorado




Current fraud investigations of Office Depot's federal contracts:
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Department of Defense (DOD)
Department of Education (DOE)
General Services Administration (GSA)

Public agency, private benefit

An obscure public agency operates outside the public view, often awarding financial benefits to private business. Critics call it a bad way to do the public's business.
By BRIAN JOSEPH

The Orange County Register



Not a single elected official sits on the California Communities board.

'We get paid well'

Staffing is also a separate function, provided by the private firm HB Capital Resources, which received the largest profits from California Communities.

A company of about 30 people, HB Capital is named for its two principals, Stephen Hamill and Jerry Burke, who operate several enterprises from an office in Walnut Creek. With names like "U.S. Communities" and "Canadian Communities," these firms offer "public benefit" services to government and private groups.

Hamill declined to say how much of the $10 million collected from California Communities was profit, acknowledging only that "We get paid well." He noted, however, that HB Capital operates without profit guarantees and estimated that more than 50 percent of staff time is spent on projects that never appear before the board.

Truth squad
Ft. Myers, Florida
U.S.A.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 08/11/2009 10:51 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Steve-Hamill-HB-Capital-Resources-U-S-Communities-California-Communities/nationwide/Steve-Hamill-HB-Capital-Resources-U-S-Communities-California-Communities-Scam-to-o-478449. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1

kICKBACKS THE TIES BETWEEN U.S. COMMUNITIES & OFFICE DEPOT

AUTHOR: waterworld2@comcast.net - (U.S.A.)

U.S. COMMUNITIES & OFFICE DEPOT

WHAT THEY GAIN FROM THEIR KICKBACK SCHEME

 Kickbacks

A kickback is an official's share of misappropriated funds allocated from his or her organization to an organization involved in corrupt bidding. For example, suppose that a politician is in charge of choosing how to spend some public funds. He can give a contract to a company that is not the best bidder, or allocate more than they deserve. In this case, the company benefits, and in exchange for betraying the public, the officials (U.S. Communities) receives a kickback payment, which is a portion of the sum the company (Office Depot) received. This sum itself may be all or a portion of the difference between the actual (inflated) payment to the company and the (lower) market-based price that would have been paid had the bidding been competitive. Kickbacks are not limited to government officials; any situation in which people are entrusted to spend funds that do not belong to them are susceptible to this kind of corruption. (See: Anti-competitive practices, Bid rigging.)

 

What does Office Depot get in return from U.S. Communities for kickbacks?

Office Depot gains by the fact, that U.S. Communities performs the function as an independent agency that exists for the public interest. In return for over $20 million in kickbacks, U.S. Communities vouches for the integrity of Office Depots pricing; deflects critisism and allegations; and pretends to perform an over-sight role of Office Depots performance. The conspiratorial partnership between U.S. Communities and Office Depot is cemented by the fact that the individuals that helped devise the fraudulent overcharging schemes at Office Depot (Kevin Jurhing, Chris Robb and Paul Terragno), are now senior executives at U.S. Communities. Additionally, U.S. Communities entagles other organizations NACO (National Association of Counties), and public agencies in perpetuating the fraudulent overcharging schemes of Office Depot. U.S Communities by the establishment of a so called Advisory Board of public agencies (examples: Hillsborough County School District, Maricopa County,LA County, City of LA, and others), perpetuates the facade of respectability and integrity of the program. A mutual best interst entangles the corrupt relationship between Office Depot and U.S. Communities, and that best interest revolves around both enteties protecting the sales base they have and increasing it. The Office Depot/U.S. Communities contract for office and classroom supplies has grown to between $600-700 million annually in sales. This is the single largest contractual source of revenue for both Office Depot and U.S. Communities. The kickbacks themselves are disguised as a so called percent (%) management fee of 1.5-2.0%. This seemingly innocuous number amounts to almost $12 million a year in kickbacks now. It is important to note that the primary defense in almost all prosectured kickback cases was the defenses attempt to catagorize the kickback as a fee, this defense has historically almost never succeeded. The primary need for the existence of this corrupt relationship is the fact that Office Depot is engaged in a massive fraudulent overcharging scheme on the contract, and needs U.S. Communities to deflect inquiries from investigating agencies, the press, the public and elected officials. Office Depot, instead of needing to pay many kickbacks, to cover up and hide its overcharging, has a sole source provider of corrution in U.S. Communities.

.............................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009
According to press contacts, the Crisis Management Firm of Solem & Associates is now representing U.S. Communities/California Communities, et al.

 

Faced with growing evidence of taking kickbacks from Office Depot ($20 million + over three years), U.S. Communities/California Communities has retained one of the top firms in dealing with allegations of corporate criminality and/or moral malfeasance.

 

Office Depot's is currently under publicly disclosed investigations by the Attorney Generals of Texas, Ohio, Florida, Colorado, Missouri and California. These investigations center around the Office Depot/U.S. Communities national contract for office and classroom supplies valued at  between $600-700 million annually. Alleged fraudulent overcharging is estimated at over $100 million per year nationally on the U.S. Communities contract and Office Depot's federal contract which is under investigation by the Departments of Justice, Defense, Education and the General Services Administration (GSA). 


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#2 Author of original report

Senior Office Depot & U.S. Communities Executives Meet to cover-up overcharging

AUTHOR: Truth squad - (U.S.A.)

On March 12th, 2008 a meeting was held were executives from Office Depot, U.S. Communities and LA County purchasing conspired to cover-up overcharging by Office Depot.

Present at the meeting:
Steven Hamill (CEO of U.S. Communities)

Kevin Jurhing (Program Manager U.S. Communities, and ex-Office Depot executive)

Chris Mellis (Regional Manager U.S. Communities)

Dave Trudnowski (Senior VP Office Depot)

Chris Penny (Director, Government Sales Office Depot)

Joe Sandoval (Manager LA County Purchasing)

Gerry Plummer (Asst. Manager LA County Purchasing)

Erica Salas (LA County Purchasing)

In the meeting summary the following was stated in reference to overcharging:

"....agenceis could be paying a higher price then need be."

" not having the sales force offer (the correct lower price) could create ammunition for independent dealers, if they were to catch wind of this".
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