Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

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May 17, 2013

Witnesses contradict suing bidder's claims

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The City of Lockport’s formal reply to a spurned contractor’s lawsuit was filed Thursday in state Supreme Court.

City Attorney John Ottaviano’s response to the suit by Scott Lawn Yard Inc. includes sworn statements from a city employee and two engineering consultants who tell a markedly different story than the one offered by a Scott Lawn agent regarding what happened the day bids were opened for a city parking garage demolition/surface parking lot construction job. Finger pointing and litigation quickly followed that bid opening.

Ahead of Scott Lawn’s suit, the Common Council awarded the parking-construction job to Empire Dismantlement Corporation on a “lowest responsible bid” of $1,177,000.

Scott Lawn Yard Inc. vice president Scott Miller cried foul, claiming his company lawfully earned the job, as the lowest bidder among 10 submitting contractors. Scott Lawn’s bid was $987,000.

That a Scott Lawn employee, Christopher Juliano, missed the city-set 2 p.m. April 5 deadline for submitting bids, Miller’s lawsuit blames on an unnamed city employee who, he asserts, misinformed Juliano where bids were supposed to be filed. 

Juliano claimed that, about an hour before the deadline, he tried dropping off Scott Lawn’s bid at the city engineer’s office at City Hall and was told to instead take it to Conestoga Rover & Associates, the contract engineering firm handling the parking-construction job, in Buffalo.

In a sworn statement, the city employee, engineering department senior account clerk Judy Ritchie, says she did not tell Juliano that.

Sometime after 1 p.m. April 5, as she returned to City Hall from her lunch break, Ritchie said she encountered a man in the City Hall lobby who asked her whether she worked in the engineering department. She confirmed that she did “and he said that he had left a bid package on my desk,” her statement said.

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