A Schaumburg-based construction firm is suing the Village of Brookfield, claiming the village failed to follow the proper procedure when it tossed out the firm’s low bid for the village’s 2006 street paving contract and went with the second-lowest bidder instead.
On July 19, A. Lamp Concrete Contractors Inc. asked a Cook County Circuit Court judge to impose a temporary restraining order to prevent work on the street project to begin and to reverse Brookfield’s decision to go with the second-lowest bidder on the project, J. Nardulli Concrete Inc.
According to court records, on July 20, Judge James F. Henry denied A. Lamp’s call for a restraining order. Brookfield Village Engineer Derek Treichel confirmed last week that Nardulli has begun work on the street improvement project.
“Our position remains the same,” said Paul Greco, the attorney representing A. Lamp Concrete. “[Nardulli] is not the lowest responsible bidder. Awarding them the contract is in violation of the [state] statute. And based on the village’s failure to give any justification for the decision, we feel it’s based on something inappropriate.”
Asked if he could specify what inappropriate action village officials might be involved in, Greco replied that he couldn’t.
“I have no idea what the village based it’s decision on,” said Greco, who added the village has failed to provide him with meeting minutes and an audio record of the June 26 village board meeting, where his client’s bid was rejected.
The two parties were scheduled to appear yesterday after press time before Judge Henry, who was expected to rule on the Village of Brookfield’s motion to dismiss the suit.
All bids rejected
Village records indicate that three companies submitted bids for the street project. A. Lamp’s bid was for $1.74 million, while Nardulli’s bid came in at $1.75 million. The third bid, from Unique Plumbing, was just over $2 million.
However, at the village board’s June 26 meeting, trustees voted unanimously to reject all three bids. Immediately following that vote, trustees voted to waive competitive bidding and award the street paving contract to J. Nardulli Concrete.
According to Village Attorney Richard Ramello, while the Illinois Municipal Code does state that municipalities shall accept the lowest responsible bid, it also provides for a municipality to waive competitive bidding if two-thirds of the trustees vote to do so.
During a short discussion involving the issue, Ramello informed board members that the village manager had requested that his office perform a review of A. Lamp Concrete’s litigation history before the board voted to accept their low bid.
“A. Lamp has a history of judgments and liens and lawsuits,” Ramello said in an interview last week. “They are involved in quite a bit of litigation over time.”
In light of that information, trustees avoided a discussion of A. Lamp’s qualification by simply rejecting all three bids. A two-thirds majority vote was required to waive competitive bidding to hire J. Nardulli Concrete for the work; the vote was unanimous.
“The action at the board meeting didn’t hinge on whether [A. Lamp Concrete was] responsible,” Ramello said. “They didn’t want to decide whether they were responsible or not. They selected the proposal they felt was in the public interest.”
An Internet search of Cook County Circuit Court records shows that, since 1999, A. Lamp Concrete has been named as the defendant in 55 separate lawsuits.
Greco downplayed the number of lawsuits against the firm, saying he knew of no judgments against the firm. He also argued that A. Lamp Concrete does $25 to $30 million in road construction work annually.
“[They’ve] done dozens of projects similar to this,” he said.