State auditors looking into vo-tech system contracts

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State Auditor John Geragosian

Connecticut’s two state auditors have joined other state and federal officials in investigating contracts between the state’s vocational-technical school system and two Rocky Hill-based marking and consulting firms.

John Geragosian, the Democratic auditor of public accounts, said Wednesday his office is examining documents related to the contracts and “monitoring” the other investigations.

The auditors’ office is the fourth agency to begin investigating the contracts.

The state Department of Administrative Services (DAS) launched the first investigation last month, and it was promptly followed by an inquiry from the U.S. Department of Education. Both were first reported by the Hartford Courant.

On Friday, the State Contracting Standards Board launched its own investigation – the first public inquiry into the documents.

These investigations are examining whether the Connecticut Technical High School System improperly spent $4.9 million over three years on contracts awarded to two Rocky Hill-based firms: The Pita Group, a marketing and advertising firm, and Kozak & Salina, LLC, a government relations, lobbying and consulting firm.

Two top administrators at CTHSS – including system superintendent Nivea L. Torres – have been placed on paid administrative leave in response to the investigations.

The State Department of Education, which oversees the vocational-technical school system, requested the first investigation by DAS after a routine audit raised questions about the contracts.

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