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Lewis Billings

PROVO — Provo Mayor Lewis Billings is the most recent target of an ad campaign by Totally Awesome Computers owner Dell Schanze, who accuses the Provo leader of wasting taxpayer dollars on a computer system the city purchased last year from another vendor.

Schanze — also known as "Super Dell" in his advertising campaigns — says he is so sure he can provide a superior system at a lower price that he is offering to give Billings his $79,425 Jaguar XJR 100th anniversary edition for free if he fails.

City spokesman Mike Mower said the offer is simply a sour-grapes effort by Schanze — noting that Totally Awesome Computers failed to submit a bid proposal for the contract, which eventually went to IBM.

"Don't try to bribe us," Mower said. "Just follow the law and submit a bid like the other 10 companies did."

Mower points out that the city is required by law to advertise for bids on all items over $8,000.

Mower say Schanze's current ad — which began airing on eight Utah radio stations this week — is just the latest in a series of obnoxious advertisements that have previously disparaged Micron, Gateway, Bill Gates, the Better Business Bureau and a Salt Lake dentist, who sued Schanze for defamation. The suit was later dropped.

"This is Super Dell simply trying to get a second bite at the free media apple," Mower said.

Schanze admits he doesn't think the mayor will take a chance to win the set of wheels.

"Billings is just full of baloney," said Schanze. "He doesn't want to listen, and he doesn't want to take my advice.

"There is no computer company on the planet that competes with me," said the notoriously boastful Schanze. "They don't care about saving money. They care about saving face."

Mower said Schanze's bravado doesn't always match reality. Mower said Totally Awesome Computers submitted the highest bid of three companies for a Geographic Information System (GIs) workstation, which was solicited by the Provo Energy Department last year.

City relations with Schanze weren't always so strained, however. It was only last summer that Billings declared May 7 "Super Dell Day" in Provo.

"There is no honor in that award if I can't help them. I just don't do the dog and pony show," said Schanze, who says he will finance the campaign of "anyone with common sense" interested in running against the mayor.

"Super Dell has gotten so much free advertising off of this," Mower said, "that the least he could do would be to donate the Jaguar to one of our local Provo charities that helps children."

That, Mower said, would be totally awesome.