Updated:ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. —
Orange County has a new process for construction project costs, thanks to a whistleblower who discovered the county was being ripped off.
An audit found it was paying a lot more than it should have when awarding construction contracts.
"We probably would not have known about this had someone not come forward," said Martha Haynie, Orange County comptroller.
But a whistleblower came forward to talk about the contract with Terra Firma Construction
There were no competitive bids because the jobs cost less than $100,000 each.
When the comptroller's office investigated, it found Terra Firma proposed a nearly $68,000 contract for a project which the county could get for nearly half the price at $35,000.
Another project proposed for $96,000, could actually be done for $58,000.
The whistleblower discovered documentation that was made up – like a proposal that called for 1,000 tons of gravel when only 100 tons were needed.
The unidentified whistleblower no longer works for the county.
"This person deserves a 'thank you' for saving taxpayers a lot of money,” Haynie said.
Mayor Teresa Jacobs issued a statement Monday evening crediting her whistleblower initiative for exposing the problem.
The county now has a new process for projects that cost under $100,000 to complete.