Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

May 2, 2013

Ramp demo lawsuit filed

By Joyce M. Miles
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — A jilted bidder for municipal parking construction work slapped the Common Council and Mayor Michael Tucker with a lawsuit this week.

Scott Lawn Yard Inc. of Sanborn wants a court order directing the Council to name it the lowest responsible bidder for the roughly $1 million job of demolishing the municipal parking garage at Main and Pine streets, and putting a surface parking lot in its place, according to its suit filed Tuesday.

Meanwhile, city officials are meeting with Empire Dismantlement Corp. today to hash out a work schedule for the tasks involved in ramp removal and surface lot construction. The city had not received official notice of Scott Lawn’s suit as of late Wednesday and the meeting with Empire will go on even if that notice is received this morning, Tucker said.

The Council awarded the parking construction job to Grand Island-based Empire Dismantlement on April 10, days after 10 sealed bids were opened and Empire was declared the lowest responsible on-time bidder for the work. Empire said it could do the job for $1,177,000.

Scott Lawn Yard’s bid, $987,000, was lower, but city officials said the bid was submitted after the 2 p.m. April 5 deadline and therefore was not valid.

The Scott Lawn Yard employee who brought the bid to City Hall, Christopher Juliano, claimed he had it in hand, in the building, before 1 p.m. April 5 and was directed by an unnamed city employee to deliver it to the city’s demolition engineering consultant, CRA Infrastructure & Engineering in Buffalo.

In his suit, Scott Lawn Yard vice president Scott Miller claims Juliano did as he was told, arrived at CRA’s Delaware Avenue office about 1:50 p.m. and was directed by a CRA representative to take the bid back to Lockport.

Juliano returned to City Hall about 2:30 p.m., handed the sealed bid to a CRA consultant who accepted and opened it, and pronounced Scott Lawn to be the lowest bidder, the suit said.

However, CRA’s final listing of bidders and their offers, time-stamped 3:14 p.m. April 5, shows Scott Lawn Yard’s bid is marked “*LATE*”

City Attorney John Ottaviano previously brushed off Miller’s claim that his employee was late to the bid opening because of incorrect information from the city. The city’s published call for bids clearly stated bids were to be delivered to the City Clerk, Ottaviano observed.

Scott Lawn Yard’s suit asks for a temporary restraining order barring the city from engaging Empire Dismantlement in demolition activity until a judge can decide who the lowest responsible bidder was.