Dan Keating and David S. Fallis, with contributions from Bobbye Pratt, of The Washington Post used District of Columbia purchasing records to show that of $2.5 billion in purchases last year, the city spent roughly $425 million in unauthorized payments and no-bid contracts. "District officials routinely violate city spending laws by avoiding competitive bidding, masking purchases under unrelated contracts and paying vendors without contracts or legal authority. "Studies of no-competition contracts elsewhere indicate that the city is overpaying by $50 million a year. The examination found problems that go far beyond sloppy paperwork as employees skirt the laws designed to prevent waste and fraud. A second story examines one the relationship between city government and a contractor who promised big but delivered little.