Lamont administration ‘leveraged a relationship’ with a supplier, and the deal failed

Coronavirus

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut’s Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said his staff “leveraged a relationship” to try to get the state at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits. The supplier for this “doomed deal” lives in Glastonbury.

On Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont said the delay of the three million at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits was a supply chain issue. On Thursday, the administration said the supplier backed out. On Friday, when asked whether the state lost an $18.5 million bid, the governor paused before responding.

“Nothing is standard operating procedure right now,” Lamont said. “Can I just give you a hand? It’s a little bit of the wild west out there.”

News 8 obtained documents from the state that show:

  • A purchase order for the at-home rapid COVID-19 test kits, listing Glastonbury LLC as the supplier;
  • A proforma invoice to Jack Rubenstein CT, LLC for $18,540;
  • 1.5 million units at $6.18 per test;
  • A standardization transaction form for $19 million;
  • The words “on file” for the state procurement director in the signature space.

The waiver is to cover the purchase of iHealth rapid COVID-19 tests for the state, and a memo is signed by the state’s Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani. It expedites the procurement of rapid test kits as “essential goods” defined in executive orders.

Jack Rubenstein CT, LLC lists a contact name of Jeffrey Barlow. He is seen in a Tulane University alumni photo.

Jeffrey Barlow

News 8 went to the Glastonbury home address provided on the public documents. No one was home. A voicemail on the answering machine for Jack Rubenstein CT, LLC only said, “Please leave a message.”

News 8 left a message and has not heard back.

At a news conference Friday, the governor said the documents were proper.

“A purchase order is better than a contract,” Lamont said. “It’s a guarantee of payment based on the delivery of the tests as they come in after our inspection. So, I feel very good about the nature of the relationship we had to have to get these delivered on a timely basis,”

Lamont said he “doubts” the state will take any legal action. The administration told News 8 no money exchanged hands in this test kit deal.

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