When postal worker Kirk Gardino saw that the financially strapped U.S. Postal Service gave an $18 million contract to an outside private company to maintain and change locks on grouped mailboxes in 18 U.S. states, he felt as though something didn’t feel right.
Gardino, a postal worker in Iowa, did some math, saw that things didn’t add up and filed a whistleblower complaint with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley. The senator responded by launching an investigation. In early June, the inspector general of the U.S. Postal Service released an audit confirming Gardino’s suspicions. The audit said that post office authorities overspent on the large contract by nearly $7 million per year.
This is a perfect case of an employee paying attention to his environment, understanding trends and the culture of his job, and then speaking up when something seemed odd. Gardino’s job with the post office involved changing 22 locks per week in Ankeny for an approximately $10 per lock, according to his statements to The Des Moines Register. When he did the math, he realized that Diebold (the company that was awarded the contract) was charging the post office about $40 per lock replacement.
Since the post office just recently suggested suspending mail service on Saturdays and they are clearly trying to save money, Gardino wisely realized something was amiss. The best part of this story is the fact that Gardino was able to keep his job, and has returned to changing locks. In many instances, employees like Gardino may have faced unlawful retaliation, causing another whistleblower suit.
The qui tam attorneys at Begelman & Orlow, P. C. have more than 115 years of combined experience litigating whistleblower cases throughout the U.S. If you have knowledge of any fraudulent activity, wrongdoing or mishandled spending, contact the whistleblower lawyers at Begelman & Orlow, P. C..