The construction firm passed over earlier this month to serve as general contractor for the Linda Sokol Francis Brookfield Library has filed a formal protest with the library’s board of trustees, disputing the library board’s determination that the company wasn’t qualified to do the job.

ALL Construction Group, of Cicero, through its attorney Ricardo Meza, submitted the protest on Feb. 21, insisting the firm was the lowest responsible bidder. 

The 13-page protest requests that library trustees void the decision on Feb. 12 to award an $8.4 million construction contract to IHC Construction Companies LLC and award the contract to ALL Construction.

If the library board does not void its decision, ALL Construction could file suit in Cook County Circuit Court, asking a judge to intervene.

A good deal of the protest revolves around the library’s owner’s representative, Dan Eallonardo, who ALL Construction argues should have recused himself from recommending the award of a contract to IHC Construction, because he previously had worked for the firm for 16 years.

“Despite having hired Mr. Dan Eallonardo to serve their interest and the interest of the Brookfield Library residents – the facts seem to reveal that Mr. Dan Eallonardo must have served the interest of IHC, who as it turns out, was also his prior employer,” the protest states.

The protest also criticizes Eallonardo for requesting that representatives of ALL Construction not attend the Feb. 12 special board meeting where trustees awarded the construction contract.

“The reasoning … was that the Board of Trustees would not be able to ‘speak as freely about the bids,'” the protest states. “This request puts into question whether Dan Eallonardo’s relationship with IHC influenced his judgment because it was clear that Dan Eallonardo did not want ALL Construction Group to attend the board meeting thus preventing ALL Construction Group from being able to respond to questions or concerns library trustees may have had of them.”

In addition, the protest argues that the library board, as a recipient of a $125,000 Illinois Secretary of State Live and Learn construction grant, did not comply with a local law requiring them to provide a “full and complete statement of reasons” why ALL Construction, which submitted the lowest bid, was passed over for the contract.

“ALL Construction group was not even told its bid was not a responsible bid. Let alone that they did not qualify,” the protest states.

The Landmark reached out to Brookfield Library Board President Dianne Duner, Library Director Kimberly Coughran and Eallonardo for comment.

The library’s response came from the board’s attorney Roger Ritzman, who stated ALL Construction’s bid “reflected several deficiencies.”

Specifically, Ritzman said, the project manager, site superintendent and the firm itself did not meet the experience requirements set out by the bid specifications.

According to Ritzman, the library board required site superintendents and project managers to have “at least 15 years of experience working for a general contractor managing institution or commercial projects and at least three completed building construction, addition, or renovation projects of at least $8 million and of similar scope and complexity in the state of Illinois within the last five years from this project’s bid date.”

As far as the company itself, Ritzman said ALL Construction did not meet the library board’s standard of having at least five public building construction projects of at least $8 million – and at least three library projects of similar scope – completed on time in the last five years.

Ritzman also stated ALL Construction did not meet the library’s insurance requirements.

“Accordingly, the library selected another bidder for the project,” Ritzman said.

While ALL Construction Group’s protest touts that the family-owned business has been in operation since 1959, it appears that for most of that time it was masonry-centric. The Illinois Secretary of State lists the company as A.L.L. Masonry Construction Company LLC, doing business as ALL Construction Group. The Secretary of State notes the corporation was formed in 1979.

In 2017, the owner of the company set up a separate corporation called ALL Construction Group LLC, which was terminated in December 2019. That was done to directly establish that All Construction Group fell under the umbrella of A.L.L. Masonry Construction Company LLC.

Should the protest morph into a court case where a judge might order a temporary injunction while considering the merits, it could play havoc with the library’s timeline for construction.

According to a report delivered to library trustees in advance of their meeting scheduled for Feb. 26, Coughran indicated that they would begin the process of ordering construction materials this month, with groundbreaking slated for mid to late April.

The library board has planned for construction to wrap up in summer 2021, so that the existing library can be demolished to make way for a parking lot and small corner park.

This story has been changed to clarify that All Construction Group LLC was terminated in 2019 simply to roll it into the original company filing for A.L.L. Masonry Construction Company LLC, a corporation active with the Secretary of State’s Office since 1979.