Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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May 23, 2013

Spurned bidder's suit going forward

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Demolition of the city parking garage remains on hold for at least another two weeks after a judge on Thursday ordered a hearing on the competing claims of the city and a rejected contractor.

In answer to the city's request that a temporary restraining order preventing work on the garage be lifted, and Scott Lawn Yard Inc.'s lawsuit against the city be thrown out, State Supreme Court Justice Richard S. Kloch Sr. ordered a June 5 hearing. The complexity of the claims demands one, he said.

Scott Lawn Yard Inc. sued after the city rejected its apparent low bid for the parking garage job. The Sanborn-based contractor offered to do the work — dismantling of the existing garage and construction of a surface parking lot in its place — for $987,000 but the city awarded the bid to Grand Island-based Empire Dismantlement Corp. for $1,177,000.

City Attorney John Ottaviano said that's because Empire Dismantlement's bid was on time and Scott Lawn's was not. He said the city followed state General Municipal Law which, in a section pertaining to bidding, says bids are to be opened and read at the time and place where the municipality previously publicly advertised that they would be.

Regarding the parking construction job, bids were due at the City Clerk's office prior to the scheduled 2 p.m. April 5 opening.

Scott Lawn's bid was not presented to employees of CRA, the engineering firm hired by the city to manage the demolition project, until about 40 minutes past the deadline, according to both sides.

Scott Lawn insists an employee tried submitting its bid at City Hall around 1 p.m. April 5 and was misinformed by an employee in the city engineering department where to take it. The Scott Lawn employee ended up at CRA's Buffalo office and was directed to go back to Lockport.

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