Arkansas State Police, at the request of 20th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Cody Hiland, will investigate the contractual arrangement and specifics of the business contract between Aramark food vendor and the University of Central Arkansas.
Hiland said that the request, based on "information sufficient to warrant an investigation," was made by his office Thursday.
"We have formally requested today that the Arkansas State Police open an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the contract with UCA and Aramark," Hiland said.
Hiland said that "circumstances surrounding" may include a proposed Aramark grant of $700,000 offered to the school contingent upon the renewal of the vendor's contract, though, his request did not stipulate that the grant be investigated
Spokesman for the Arkansas State Police Bill Sadler said that an agent would be assigned to "investigate the contractual arrangement and specifics of the current contract between Aramark and the University of Central Arkansas."
Hiland said that in order for an investigation to take place, law requires that his office first request the action.
Aramark has been UCA’s food service provider since 1976.
The vendor has consistently offered UCA money for capital improvements, including $1.9 million in 2005 to renovate the student center.
The school has entered into similar contracts with other vendors in the past, including one with Pepsi in 2003 that provides royalties of at least $50,000 and other values of $422,000 from the company over the course of its current contract.
A contract proposal of $700,000 from Aramark to renovate the president’s home contingent upon the seven-year renewal of its contract with the university was brought to light at the school’s August board meeting, though, it was first introduced by former President Allen Meadors and Trustee Chairman Scott Roussel as a gift.
Days after the meeting, several board members learned that the "gift" was contingent upon the vendor’s contract being renewed.
(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)