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Don't feel bad, Saipan; Bic screwed Guam, too.

By Troy Torres

Documents Kandit received from the Mayors Council of Guam today show Guam businessman Bic Sobti had at least 19 separate open purchase orders with each mayoral office for the sale of exponentially-marked up face masks, face shields, hand sanitizers, latex gloves, toiletries, cleaning supplies, safety apparel, safety supplies, and "any supplies needed for the upkeep and maintenance" of senior centers and mayoral facilities.

No procurement documents indicating how Mr. Sobti's company, International Royal dba Royal Bics, was selected to provide these sales was provided in response to Kandit's Freedom of Information Act request for documents.

There were no price quotes, requests for price quotations, or other documents disclosed except for the purchase orders and invoices.

The invoices show several mayors offices utilized the open purchase orders to buy boxes of 50 generic face masks for $100 a box, thermometers for $85 a piece, face shields for $5.99 each, hand soap for $6 each, and boxes of 100 nitrile gloves for $20 a box.

Mr. Sobti sold the same box of generic face masks to the CNMI government for $150, thermometers for $90 each, face shields for $9.95 each, and boxes of nitrile gloves for $22.95 a box.

Royal Bics has a business license on Guam to sale clothes.

The open purchase orders occurred at the start of the public health emergency. It is unclear how either the Mayors Council, the Guam Homeland Security agency, or the Governor's Office thought to call Mr. Sobti to provide these personal protective equipment and medical supplies, considering that Mr. Sobti's company has never been in this business prior to the public health emergency.

U.S. Attorney General William Barr at the start of the national public health emergency in March warned merchants throughout the country that the Justice Department's priority at the time was to crack down on price gouging.

Senators Sabina Perez and Therese Terlaje also have introduced legislation, Bill No. 386-35, that will limit the governor's emergency procurement authority during public health emergencies.

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