Contractor asks judge to enjoin BISD, wants contract for itself

David Yates May 20, 2009, 5:42am

A contractor claiming he put in the lowest bid for Beaumont Independent School District's planned elementary school project is asking a judge to stop BISD from hiring a more expensive company.

A.B. Bernard, president of BGI Contractors, asked Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, for an injunction during a May 19 hearing. The judge has not yet made a ruling.

As the Southeast Texas Record reported in January, BGI Contractors filed suit against BISD, Superintendent Dr. Carrol Thomas and Parsons Commercial Technology Group, alleging it did not win a contract to perform work for the school despite being the highest-ranked and lowest-priced bidder.

According to the complaint, filed Dec. 30 in Jefferson County District Court, the district requested proposals for construction manager risk services for new elementary school prototypes.

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 claims.

In addition, Daniels and BGI Contractors claim they were rated the highest. 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 BISD 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.

In addition to the injunction, the plaintiff is asking that the court award the contract to Daniels Building and Construction, and is suing for actual and punitive damages, plus attorney's fees.

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

Case No. D182-953

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