Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Courts

May 29, 2013

Judge throws out ramp suit

Also criticizes city's handling of bids, case

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — By the time the employee arrived back in Lockport, he was 40 minutes late. Scott lawn’s bid was $190,000 lower than the “winning” bid submitted by Empire.

Kloch noted that the difference “represents nearly $9 for every man, woman and child” living in Lockport. He also wondered if “other problems” exist in the city’s bidding process.

“The nuances of the discussions between the city employee and Scott representative are the unknown in this equation,” Kloch wrote. “What is known is there seemed to be little interest in serving the people who will be paying the contract price — namely, the taxpayers.”

Citing client-attorney privilege, Ottaviano said there are details about the case that did not come out in court and that he still cannot divulge.

“We were mindful, obviously, of getting the best price and following the general municipal law,” Ottaviano said, “but there were questions about the bid itself” beyond numbers written over white out on the Scott Lawn bid, an issue brought up by the defendants in court.

Another question that remains unanswered was how Scott Lawn’s bid was revealed if it was late. Scott representatives claim the engineer hired by the city opened their bid, but city representatives say it was the Scott Lawn employee who actually revealed the bid.

“That just compounded the problem,” Ottaviano said. “In my 20 years, it was a bizarre set of events that don’t normally occur.”

A message left at Bartolomei’s office seeking comment was not returned by press time.

Kloch also scolded the city for an apparent “let the people eat cake” attitude during a previous court appearance.

“The statutes with reference to expenditure of municipal finds for public projects are for protection of taxpayers, not benefit of contracts,” Kloch wrote. “It is this first basic fact that respondents seemingly can not grasp.”

“I’m not sure we conveyed all the facts to the judge as we know them,” Ottaviano said.

With the possibility for Scott Lawn to appeal, it’s likely that demolition will not begin until that 30-day window is closed, Ottaviano said.

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