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Source : Wikimedia Commons
August 13, 2021
Author : Patty Rodriguez
The development follows challenges from bidders who did not secure the contract for hundreds of millions in upgrades to the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Allegations of irregularities in the process of selecting AEOCOM Hunt and a local construction firm called Broadmoor over their competitors have abound and the Louisiana attorney general’s office have said that they are investigating.
According to local media, the attorney general’s office said that “evidence presented by the losing competitors supported the assertion that the convention center violated the state's open meetings law when it selected AECOM Hunt-Broadmoor.”
Now, the governing board is getting back together, this time holding their meeting in public. According to the convention center attorney, David Phelps, the board will either uphold its previous decision or come up with a new scoring process to determine a new contract winner.
The main issue here is that the board was to direct a panel to pick the contractor, allowing them to give preference to factors other than the lowest bid, for example, the participation of disadvantaged business enterprises, or DBEs.
But on Thursday, the board said that the directors appear to have misled the panel on the role of Metro Services Group which was favored by the panel for its DBE participation.
Metro Services Group is black-owned, and while the winning team claimed that they’d be participating as a subcontractor, they did so without their consent. In fact, Metro Services Group was actually a prime contractor on a competing bid team.
Other losing bid teams have also challenged “irregularities” in the selection process.
Local media reports that both of the losing teams accused a member of the selection panel, Hilary Landry, of having “a bias in favor of Broadmoor because of links that include her acting as liaison between Broadmoor and the Superdome commission, of which she is a member of the board.”
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.