Local contractor sues BISD over rejected bid

Kelly Holleran Jan. 7, 2009, 8:55am

A local contractor is suing the Beaumont school district, claiming it was passed over for a district job in spite of its low bid.

A.B. Bernard and BGI Contractors have filed suit against Beaumont Independent School District, its superintendent and Parsons Commercial Technology Group, alleging they did not win a contract to perform work for the school despite being the highest-ranked and lowest priced bidder.

Beaumont Independent School District and its superintendent, Carrol A. Thomas, requested proposals for construction manager risk services for new elementary school prototypes in BISD, according to the complaint filed Dec. 30 in Jefferson County District Court.

The process was supposed to follow the terms allowed by Texas statute and was to be "aimed at maximizing or achieving the best value for BISD and the citizens and taxpayers in the District," the suit states.

Daniels Building and Construction and its partner, BGI Contractors, submitted their proposal, which was the lowest bid for services, BGI Contractors claims.

In addition, Daniels and BGI Contractors were rated the highest, according to the complaint.

However, Daniels and BGI were not selected to perform the work, the suit states.

There are certain bidding procedures in the Texas Education Code that must be followed to select contract workers at the school sites, BGI Contractors claims.

"These procedures were enacted to protect taxpayers from fraud and favoritism in the expenditure of government funds," the suit states. "In choosing a lower ranked and more costly contractor, over Daniels Building and Construction, Inc., Defendants violated the procedures which they represented they would follow, on which the contractors relied, amounting to a choice of fraud and/or favoritism over the protection of the taxpayer, and as a result, Plaintiffs have been damages and the Contract should be enjoined."

If Thomas and the Beaumont Independent School District did not manipulate the selection process to select a lower-ranked and more expensive contractor, the contract would have been awarded to Daniels Building and Construction and BGI Contractors, the company claims.

"Defendants intentionally withheld material facts regarding the actual selection process to be used, and regarding the process which was used, and delayed, repeatedly, disclosure of the documents and data Defendants supposedly used in making the selection," the suit states.

Because it was not awarded the contract, BGI Contractors lost profits, according to the complaint.

It is seeking a temporary injunction to halt performance under the contract while the case is pending, a permanent injunction to enjoin performance of the awarded contract and to instead award the contract to Daniels Building and Construction, unspecified actual and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief to which it is entitled.

The plaintiff is represented by Louis M. Scofield Jr. of Mehaffy Weber in Beaumont.

The case has been assigned to Judge Milton Shuffield of the 136th District Court.

Case No. D182-953

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