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New license deal approved

Friday, February 01, 2013 - Updated: 5:30 PM

ALBANY (AP) -- New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has approved the Cuomo administration's contract for new driver's licenses that will have black-and-white photos produced by the highest bidder, prompting a losing bidder to sue.

DiNapoli's approval paves the way for CBN Secure Technologies owned by Ottawa-based Canadian Bank Note, to produce the licenses. Its $88.5 million bid was $38 million higher than the current contractor, Britain-based De La Rue North America.

But state officials estimate the contract cost will be closer to $70 million. Bids were based on a per-card price so the contract cost won't be known until all the cards are manufactured over the life of the contract.

DiNapoli explored the losing bidders' contention that the Cuomo administration "steered" the bid to CBN, a long-established leader in the field of printing money, including Canadian money and high security documents.

Auditors found "no indication" that CBN was given "insider knowledge or afforded an unfair advantage." Auditors examined the bidding process, but relied on the DMV's technical analysis of the bids.

De La Rue said the process "was profoundly flawed."

"Because we believe the DMV selection process warrants further scrutiny, De La Rue will resume its legal challenge to the decision in state Supreme Court," stated De La Rue, which has the DMV contract for 16 years.

     

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