Saturday, May 26, 2001

No final decision for Great American Ball Park contract

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        No decision was made Friday on a $4 million contract for Great American Ball Park, a contract that needs to be awarded soon to keep the project on schedule.

        After a contentious three-hour meeting Friday, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune wanted to award a contract for glass, metal wall panels and glazing to the lowest bidder, Waltek Company, Ltd.

        But Commissioner Tom Neyer wants to follow construction managers' recommendation to give the contract to the Indianapolis-based ASI Limited.

        Commissioner John Dowlin is out of town.

        That leaves the issue unresolved for at least a week - perhaps two. Mr. Neyer will be out of town next week, meaning Mr. Dowlin and Mr. Portune will vote on the matter. If there is no agreement, it will be two weeks before a consensus can be reached.

        Project Manager Arnie Rosenberg said the effect of the delay is unclear.

        Waltek submitted a bid that was $225,000 lower than ASI. But three weeks after initially recommending the contract go to Waltek, for $4.4 million, construction managers reversed themselves and recommended it go to ASI because of “irregularities” in the Waltek bid.

        Waltek officials admitted they:

        • Did not submit a small business plan with the bid.

        • Had a mathematical error in the bid.

        • Did not write out the bid amount in words.

        “It is not one irregularity, but it is the number and magnitude of irregularities that causes this bid to be non-responsive,” the county's attorney, Tom Gabelman said. “The bottom line is we have a low bidder that is unable to follow instructions.

        “If they can't follow instructions, do they have the ability to perform the complex work required at the ballpark?”

        Absolutely, said Waltek's attorney, John McCoy. The company received letters of recommendation for complex work at Paul Brown Stadium and Fort Washington Way.

        The construction manager investigated all of the irregularities before recommending Waltek get the contract on May 2. Three weeks later, that decision was reversed.


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