PHOENIX (CN) - Sheriff Joe Arpaio bought a $456,000 bus without competitive bidding, and Maricopa County says Motor Coach Industries has to refund the money and get the bus out of town. The county refuses to accept title to the bus or insure it, and says Arpaio did not record payment for it until more than 7 months after he bought it.
In its federal lawsuit, the county says it "has refused to accept ownership of the bus or to title, license or insure the bus."
It says Arpaio's purchase violated guidelines, and that the sheriff did not record payment for the bus until June 10, 2009 - after it was delivered - and that Arpaio bought the bus from Motor Coach Industries on Oct. 23, 2008.
Only the bus company, not the sheriff, is named as a defendant.
The county says the purchase violated procurement policies since "purchases of large amounts ... shall be subject to open, public, competitive bids, which shall be made in a sealed bid process." The guidelines were established "to prevent favoritism, fraud, and public waste."
The county says Arpaio should have submitted a purchase request to the county procurement officer and the Board of Supervisors, since the bus cost more than $50,000.
Arpaio wanted the bus to transport prisoners. But the county has "numerous other inmate/court transportation vehicles in its fleet," according to the complaint.
Maricopa County says the purchase order is void ab initio, and it wants Motor Coach Industries to return the $456,222 and "to immediately remove its bus from county premises and to bear all expenses associated therewith."
Maricopa County is represented by Randall R. Garczynski.
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