CLAYTON, MO – St. Louis County is spending millions of your tax dollars, unchecked, according to some councilmen. There has been $1 million spent and another $24 million is allocated. The expenditures are listed in the St. Louis County expenditure portal.
Three contracts have been awarded to a Maryland Heights marketing company for protective masks. RVO Logistix on Schuetz advertises itself as a “print and marketing” company. It’s now in the business of selling protective masks and medical supplies.
The County’s expenditure portal shows RBO Print Logistix was paid $219,000 emergency masks on April 30th. $219,000 has been promised in a commitment for emergency masks. An additional $576,000 has been promised in a commitment for medical supplies.
St. Louis County councilman Tim Fitch said he’d like to know more about what the County is spending. He said, “How do we know we’re getting the best price on this? Did we just go to a friend for example and say ‘You sell these things. Go get them for us and you have the contract.’ We don’t know.”
A St. Louis County Spokesman declined an interview but answered a few questions by email saying, “This company reached out to us with available masks and had the lowest prices.”
RBO President & CEO Jim Riley responded to me today saying, “We have a long term relationship with a reliable import company that is able to source PPE and when customers started asking for our help we responded.”
RBO’s website has images of the masks it’s acquired, including kn95 masks, the “china standard equivalent to the N95.”
CEO Riley added, “We contacted the St. Louis County emergency management agency and made them aware of our ability to supply these items. Eventually we were asked to submit a bid for masks and eventually were awarded an order based on being competitive and able to meet the delivery requirements. This order has been delivered.”
We’ll continue tracking your spending. Other items that show up so far– thousands of dollars for testing, cleaning supplies, and thermometers.
Here is St. Louis County’s answers to our specific questions regarding the RBO contract.
- Why did this go to a marketing firm? This company reached out to us with available masks and had lowest prices.
- What is it for? Purchase of masks
- How does a marketing firm need money to be able to supply masks? Can’t they just make the acquisition themselves and sell them? This company sold masks to St. Louis County.
- Will price of masks be monitored to make sure they’re sold at reasonable price (or maybe this expenditure covers the expense of the mask? – this is part of what I’m trying to determine). Yes, expenditure is for masks purchased. The County monitors current market rates at all times. The County will only purchase masks that are of a reasonable price and from vendors that have been vetted and are in compliance.
- Who approached who? Did RBO approach someone in the County and if so who? This company reached out with available masks and prices were lowest prices.
- Is the County aware of RBO or anyone with RBO being involved in any campaign contributions to any County elected? No
Here is RBO’s complete response:
I understand you came by our office this morning wanting to speak to someone about the masks we are supplying to St Louis County, and I will try to answer your questions as best I can.
First of all I have not, nor am I aware of anyone in my company who has made any political contributions to any St Louis County elected officials.
Our company is a supplier of printed and promotional material and we have been in business since 1985. We have a long term relationship with a reliable import company that is able to source PPE and when customers started asking for our help we responded. Because of this relationship with our import partner, we have been able to supply much needed masks, gowns, gloves, hand sanitizer, etc. to many St Louis area healthcare organizations and companies who are in desperate need of these items.
We contacted the St Louis County Emergency Management Agency and made them aware of our ability to supply these items. Eventually we were asked to submit a bid for masks and eventually were awarded an order based on being competitive and able to meet the delivery requirements. This order has been delivered.
For what its worth, our goal is to do our part to keep our community safe and eventually get everyone back to work. We know this is a temporary situation and we have an obligation to do our part to help our customers, other St Louis area companies, and healthcare providers.
Thank you and I hope I answered your questions.