In order to prevent further complications, let’s just hypothetically say this question is hypothetical.
Employee is told to get bids on equipment the company needs. After the employee collects a bid or two, the employee’s boss asks to see the lowest bid. The boss takes the lowest bid and shows it to another vendor who has not bid yet, but is a personal friend of the boss. Boss tells vendor, “beat this price.” Order is filled by vendor/friend without a bid, completely circumventing the bid process. Total purchase amount is very small, less than $10,000.
Were the boss’ actions illegal, or simply unethical?