Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

May 23, 2013

Spurned bidder's suit going forward


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The city denies any of its agents misdirected the Scott Lawn employee — and insists the company, an experienced bidder for municipal work, should have known exactly when and where its bid was due from reading the published notice to contractors.

Even so, in affadavits filed with the court last week, city and CRA employees said they took steps to accommodate the apparently lost Scott Lawn employee.

Engineering department secretary Judy Ritchie did not say she told the employee to take the bid to Buffalo, but she did say that when she realized he might have gone there, she tried to alert his employer — unknown to her at the time, since the employee didn't identify himself when they spoke — by calling down the list of 10-plus contractors who'd requested bid specs.

About 2:10 p.m. April 5, after nine bids for the demolition/construction job had been opened, CRA employees said they were made aware by Mayor Michael Tucker that a prospective bidder was coming in from their office.

CRA Project Manager Michael Marino said he told Tucker at the time that, per the published notice to contractors, the prospective bidder was late and his bid should not be received. He and CRA Construction Manager Dan Kolkmann agreed to stay put at City Hall and meet the Scott Lawn agent, "as a courtesy," Marino said.

Once they did meet, the CRA employees did not open the Scott bid, the Scott agent did, they added; that's how it became known that Scott Lawn had bid less than Empire Dismantlement.

Kloch, having read all the affidavits before court, peppered city attorney Ottaviano with questions including why he referred to Empire Dismantlement as the "lowest responsible bidder." Was he implying that Scott was not a responsible bidder?

Ottaviano suggested he has questions about the "legitimacy" of the Scott bid, in part because typed figures had been whited out and revised figures written in.

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