Little more than 12 hours after the Gloversville Common Council weeded out the two lowest bidders seeking to demolish the former First Baptist Church and awarded the contract to number three on the list, the second-lowest bidder filed suit disputing the city’s claim that it missed the deadline by a minute or two.
Dan’s Hauling & Demo of Wynantskill, represented by Oswego lawyer Kimberly A. Steele, is seeking an injunction to stop demolition until its case can be heard. A hearing is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday in state Supreme Court in Fulton County.
The Common Council on Tuesday unanimously voted to award the contract to Stamford Wrecking of Stamford, Conn., to remove the church for $499,400.
The council voted after Public Works Director Robert Abel reported that Dan’s was eliminated because its $468,500 bid was minutes late, just missing the 1 p.m. deadline on Oct. 4.
The low bidder, Empire Dismantlement Corp. of the Buffalo area, asked to withdraw its $277,000 bid after discovering it had overlooked $160,000 in expenses recorded on a bid worksheet but not in its formal bid document.
There were nine bidders in total; the highest was Jupiter Environmental Services at $707,000.
The lawsuit contends that a representative of Dan’s would have filed the bid by the deadline if the city clerk’s office was not closed for lunch, but Mayor Dayton King said the clerk’s office did not close for lunch until precisely 1 p.m.
“Our stance is we had a deadline and he came after the deadline,” King said Wednesday.
Steele said she cannot comment on litigation, but the lawsuit contends the Dan’s representative arrived at City Hall at 12:59, a minute before the deadline, but then encountered a sign at the clerk’s office noting that it was closed from 1 to 1:30 p.m. for lunch.
The Dan’s representative then observed another city staffer in the clerk’s office and noticed she was holding envelopes. When he made eye-contact with her, the suit said, the staffer shook her head to convey “no,” even though the representative’s cellphone clock read 1 p.m. He gave her his bid envelope, anyway, as he heard her inform another staffer that all bids were received by 1:01 p.m.
The Dan’s bid was ultimately time stamped at 1:02 p.m. Dan’s was informed Tuesday that its bid was rejected for lateness.
The suit accuses city officials of dishonesty considering the bid from Dan’s “was accepted and then opened and read aloud with the other bids.” It asks the court to vacate the contract award to Stamford and to award the project to Dan’s.
City officials have a $434,000 Restore New York grant to finance most of the project, which they were planning to complete by the end of this year.
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Categories: Schenectady County