The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on April 7 issued a purchase order for $3.75 million worth of COVID test kits from OKEC, LLC, but the company wasn’t registered with the Kansas Secretary of State on that date. OKEC, LLC imported those COVID test kits from China, and KDHE won’t even say whether the test kits were approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The Sentinel asked KHDE several questions about the purchase documentation obtained in an Open Records request, but the parties involved in the purchase declined to respond.
These questions were sent to Myron Gunsalus, Director of Health and Environmental Laboratories at KDHE, and Ashley Gross, title unknown, who were on the email exchange where the purchase was discussed.
- On March 29, Ashley Gross writes “Duke and Jim Osborn are possible options. Myron responds, “I don’t know to vet Jim Osborn’s options.” How did you vet Jim Osborn’s company between March 29 and approving his proposal on March 31? For example, did you request and verify references of others with whom he had done business?
- OKEC, LLC wasn’t registered as a Kansas business until May 7, 2020. Did you know that when you issued a purchase order on April 7 for $3.75 million?
- KDHE authorized the purchase of 500,000 COVID-19 testing kits @ $7.50 each, and invoices provided in the KORA request show purchases of 200,000 units. Did you purchase any additional testing kits from OKEC beyond the initial 200,000? If so, please provide copies of invoices submitted.
- What is the lowest and highest price paid for COVID-19 testing kits from all vendors?
- Did other vendors have COVID-19 testing kits available at the time of the purchase from OKEC, LLC, and if so, at what prices?
- OKEC, LLC imported the COVID-19 testing kits from Jiangsu KangJian Medical Apparatus Co., Ltd in China. Are those specific testing kits FDA approved?
- KDHE purchased something from Delco, LLC @ $3.35 each; what was purchased?
The Sentinel also wrote to Jim Osborn, asking:
- KDHE authorized the purchase of 500,000 COVID-19 testing kits from OKEC, LLC on April 7, 2020 @ $7.50 each, and invoices provided in the KORA request show purchases of 200,000 units. Did KDHE purchase additional testing kits beyond the original 200,000 units? If so, were they purchased at the same unit cost of $7.50?
- OKEC, LLC was registered with the Secretary of State on May 7, 2020. Did KDHE ask why your company wasn’t registered in Kansas prior to doing business with you?
- Do you operate under any other company names beside OKEC, LLC?
- The KDHE purchase order lists 13725 Metcalf in Overland Park as the address for OKEC, LLC, which is a UPS store. Where are the offices of OKEC, LLC?
- Have you done business with anyone else in Kansas this year, either as OKEC, LLC or any other name?
- Have you done business with anyone in other states, either as OKEC, LLC or any other name?
- Are you the James L. Osborn, Jr. referenced in this Ninth Circuit U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel filing?
- Are you the James Osborn referenced in J.C. NICHOLS COMPANY, Plaintiff, v. James and Sheryl OSBORN, Jr., Defendants?
- Are you the James L. Osborn, Jr. referenced on page 5 of NOTICE OF SHERIFF’S SALE ON FORECLOSURE OF TAX LIENS?
Osborn also ignored our questions.
The Kelly administration’s refusal to answer questions about the importation of COVID test kits from China through an unregistered company is the latest in a long line of missing and misleading information related to the COVID-19 pandemic from the administration, according to Sen. Gene Suellentrop.
“I have frustration at the lack of transparency and lack of honesty,” Suellentrop said. He pointed to a press conference last week as a prime example. On Sept. 14, Kelly told the media that 23 deaths had been reported over the previous weekend. However, most of the deaths actually had occurred in prior months.
“They misstated the number of deaths. They had gone back and reclassified some deaths,” Suellentrop said.