The company that has a multimillion-dollar contract to provide voting services to Fresno County and others across at least two states is in hot water for printing outdated ballots in Colorado, triggering a manual recount.
The company, Integrated Voting Systems, also shares a working name, address and other details with a corporation that owes more than $270,000 in back taxes and is barred from doing business in California. These companies are linked to still more printing companies which have had millions of dollars worth of liens and civil judgments levied against them.
For nearly two years, Integrated Voting Systems has done business as Integrated Voting Solutions, both based in Fresno and Dinuba. Although leadership for the former vehemently denies any association with the latter, it’s clear the two companies are related – if not the same business.
Integrated Voting Systems is contracted to handle ballot printing for Fresno and five other California counties this cycle, but its inconsistencies have pushed the Secretary of State’s office to question whether it may put these elections at risk.
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Fresno County has 5-year deal
Fresno County signed a five-year deal with Integrated Voting Solutions in November 2015. The company was not to be paid more than $2.58 million . The first three years were set, but the county retained options for one-year renewals in 2019 and 2020.
In June 2017, the California Franchise Tax Board suspended Integrated Voting Solutions, Inc. for failing to file a tax return and failing to pay nearly $5,000 in taxes, board spokesman Jason Montiel said. The results of the suspension including losing the right to conduct any business and the right to use its corporate name.
In March, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors approved a retroactive agreement that transferred its existing contract with Integrated Voting Solutions to Integrated Voting Systems for ballot printing and mailing services.
Fresno County Clerk Brandi Orth wrote the staff report in March recommending the change, saying it would “correctly reflect a change in the legal status, name and address of the corporation providing the vendor’s services under the agreement.”
Orth’s report says her office received notice of an address change for Integrated Voting Solutions in August 2017. Subsequent tax information shows that Integrated Voting Systems had been doing business as Integrated Voting Solutions shortly before Fresno County’s five-year deal was made in November 2015.
However, Integrated Voting Systems was not registered to do business in California until late April 2016, and it did not register to use “Integrated Voting Solutions” as a fictitious business name until September of that year.
As such, Fresno County either began its contract with the actual Integrated Voting Solutions or spent at least six months under contract with a company that didn’t legally exist in California. Orth said she believes it was the former.
Asked about the contract, Orth clarified the county is not currently doing business with the California corporation known as Integrated Voting Solutions. Instead, it is working with Integrated Voting Systems.
Systems vs. Solutions
But Integrated Voting Systems appears to be new in name only.
Both companies list agents with the same last name at the same address in state documents, both appear to be operating as interchangeable vendors and both have run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service.
According to the California Secretary of State’s office, the suspended Integrated Voting Solutions is a domestic corporation registered to Eric Kozlowski at 4215 S. Dans St. in Visalia. A phone number listed in voter registration records for both Kozlowski and the Dans Street address had been disconnected.
A phone number from a cached version of a now-offline website for Integrated Voting Solutions still works. It identified the company as Integrated Voting Solutions, and an operator answered the phone. She transferred The Bee to a voicemail box of an unknown “general manager.” The call was not returned.
The Secretary of State lists the other vendor, Integrated Voting Systems, as a company incorporated in Delaware. It is licensed to do business in California and is in good standing.
However, Integrated Voting Systems lists the same address as Integrated Voting Solutions and an agent with the same last name, Rebecca Kozlowski.
Both corporations are apparently behind on their federal taxes.
On April 25, a federal tax lien of $270,935 was filed against Integrated Voting Solutions in Tulare County Superior Court.
On May 9, a federal tax lien of $73,577 was filed against Integrated Voting Systems in Fresno County Superior Court.
An email, apparently sent after hearing The Bee’s voicemail left with Integrated Voting Solutions, was sent to The Bee from Ranjiv Purewal, who identified himself as the CEO of Integrated Voting Systems. It used an email address from a domain listed as integravote.com, which does not appear to be a public website.
It reads: “This is simple. Our company is Integrated Voting Systems, Inc., a registered Delaware corporation (that) is in good standing with the states we do business. Integrated Voting Solutions, Inc. a California (corporation), is not us. We are registered with the SOS as a ballot printer and finisher. Attached are our certification letters. We have no issues with providing services for the November election.”
The attached letters say Integrated Voting Systems is licensed to provide a variety of election services, but they also note that Integrated Voting Systems has been doing business as Integrated Voting Solutions.
When asked about the connection between the two companies, Purewal said his company’s legal name is Integrated Voting Systems, but it uses the trade name Integrated Voting Solutions.
He would not comment further on the relationship between the corporations and the federal tax liens against both.
Corporations sometimes do business under fictitious business names for a variety of reasons, and they are required by state law to register such names with the county in which they are doing business.
Integrated Voting Systems registered to use the name Integrated Voting Solutions in Fresno County in September 2016. The filing lists the address as 1931 G St. in downtown Fresno and the president as Rebecca Kozlowski.
Sister companies owe millions
Purewal, Eric Kozlowski and Integrated Voting Solutions are also connected through various public records to several other printing companies listed at the same downtown Fresno address. These include Central Valley Presort Inc., Presort Center of Fresno LLC and Pre Sort Center. The companies have all since moved to Dinuba.
Together, these printing companies have amassed more than $1.7 million in Fresno County, state and federal tax liens since 2015. Two Wisconsin courts also ordered them to pay a total of $467,828 in two separate civil actions, and a Texas court ordered another $31,729.
Although these debts appear unpaid, there are public records that show the companies have resolved more than a dozen additional state and federal liens.
Trouble in Colorado causes worry in California
Last month in Montrose, Colorado, a printing mistake by Integrated Voting Solutions led to a manual recount of more than 10,600 ballots, the Daily Sentinel reported.
The company contracted with Montrose County was Integrated Voting Systems, using the name Integrated Voting Solutions. A spokeswoman for the vendor’s Denver office took full responsibility for the printing mistake, saying it was “human error” on the part of her company.
According to the Colorado Secretary of State, Integrated Voting Systems registered as a business in January 2017.
After learning of the trouble in Colorado, the California Secretary of State’s office sent a letter to Integrated Voting Systems, noted as doing business as Integrated Voting Solutions, expressing concern over the company’s ability to fulfill its printing contracts with Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Marin, Mendocino, Siskiyou and Lassen counties.
The letter gave Integrated Voting Systems until Friday to respond. The Bee sent an email and called the letter’s author, voting systems analyst Rodney Rodriguez, to ask if the company had responded and whether the state was satisfied by that response. Rodriguez did not return either message.
Orth, the Fresno County clerk, said she remains confident that Integrated Voting Systems can perform its duties for the November election, as it did for the county in June. Prior to that, Integrated Voting Solutions did a good job printing ballots in both 2016 elections, she said.
Orth said she was unaware of the various tax issues associated with Integrated Voting Systems and its various sister companies. But she has toured their new facilities in Dinuba, and she reiterated that the vendor has satisfied its contractual obligations.
However, since 2019 and 2020 are optional contract years, the Board of Supervisors may cancel its agreement for any reason at the end of the year.