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The Largest Food Vendor for the Washington D.C. Public School System Agrees to Pay $19 Million to Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit

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D.C. Public Schoo  Food Vendor Agrees to Pay $19M

D.C. Public Schoo Food Vendor Agrees to Pay $19M

The largest food vendor for the public school system is Washington, D.C., has agreed to pay $19 million to settle a whistleblower lawsuit alleging that the company overcharged the district and mismanaged the school meals programs, with food often arriving at schools late, often spoiled or in short supply.

The whistleblower served as director of the D.C. Public School’s (DCPS) Office of Food and Nutritional Services from 2010 until he was fired in early 2013. The tipster filed a suit against Chartwells and Thompson Hospitality, two companies that formed a joint venture that provided food services for DCPS starting in 2008. The District’s attorney general issued a complaint and launched an investigation into the allegations, according to The Washington Post (The Post).

In 2014, the whistleblower settled a separate lawsuit with DCPS for $450,000. The tipster accused the school system of firing him in retaliation for raising issues related to Chartwells and Thompson’s poor service. Chartwells has a history of problems dating back to 2012, when its parent company, Compass Group USA, overcharged more than three dozen New York school districts by failing to extend discounts that were required by the company’s contracts. Compass paid $18 million to settle the allegations raised by New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. Last year, students at one Connecticut high school boycotted food provided by Chartwells, The Post reported.

In settling the DCPS lawsuit, Chartwells agreed to pay $14 million in credits and payments to the D.C. school system, part of which included $4 million to the D.C. Public Education Fund, and $1 million to several nonprofit organizations that promote literacy and provide mentors, college scholarships and academic enrichment, according to The Post.

Owen Donnelly, a spokesman for Chartwells, said in an e-mail to The Post that the company “denies any wrongdoing and has agreed to resolve the issues so that focus continues to be on nourishing the bodies, minds and spirits of students to pave the way for a lifetime of success and well-being.”

According to Donnelly, the problems at DCPS were the result of cost overruns and “related reconciliations.”

“In our seven years at D.C. Public Schools, we have significantly increased the quality of food service while saving the District millions of dollars,” he told The Post.

“Chartwells has quite reasonably acknowledged and addressed mistakes it made in administering the contract to provide food and food services to DCPS,” D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said in a statement Friday that was obtained by The Post. “It is important to ensure that contractors who receive District funds are held accountable for fulfilling their obligations under the contracts, and today’s settlement does just that.” disclaimer: This article: The Largest Food Vendor for the Washington D.C. Public School System Agrees to Pay $19 Million to Settle Whistleblower Lawsuit was posted on Thursday, June 11th, 2015 at 5:57 pm at and is filed under Fraud Lawsuits.

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