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Jax Daily Record Friday, Jul. 15, 201612:00 PM EST

St. John & Partners in Jacksonville disputes Florida Lottery's decision on advertising contract

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A Jacksonville-based firm is challenging a Florida Lottery decision to award a five-year advertising contract to a competing company, according to documents posted this week on the state Division of Administrative Hearings website.

St. John & Partners Advertising and Public Relations Inc. filed a formal protest after the lottery department said last month it planned to award the contract to PP+K Inc.

St. John & Partners, which has had the contract since 2009, raised a series of objections in the protest, including the lottery department failed to establish criteria to determine the “best value” among competing proposals.

According to the documents, the Jacksonville company received a higher score than PP+K in Phase 1 and had a higher cumulative score after Phase 2.

The lottery department began negotiations with both companies, including meeting June 14 and June 17 with St. John & Partners.

The documents from St. John & Partners describe the June 14 discussions as the lottery department seeking clarification on “several relatively minor issues and options discussed.”

On June 17, “additional stylistic and wording clarifications” were requested of St. John & Partner by the lottery department.

The documents say the lottery department and St. John & Partners did not have a second round of discussions nor did the department issue a request for a best and final offer.

Instead, on June 21, the department posted its intention to award the contract to PP+K.

The documents also contend David Bishop, a former lottery deputy secretary for brand management, attended the July 2015 opening of sealed replies on behalf of PP+K.

Bishop left the lottery in April 2014. Florida law prohibits an employee from representing another person or entity before the agency he or she was employed by for at least two years after leaving the agency.

PP+K has intervened in the case, which will be heard Aug. 10-12 by Administrative Law Judge Cathy Sellers.

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