The construction company that turned in the lowest bid for the first phase of the Willowridge Levee, but was later disqualified, is calling for the parish to throw out a contract with another firm who was approved by the state for the work.
Four of the six construction companies that bid on the project were disqualified by the parish last month after each firm failed to sign their bond forms correctly. The paperwork provided to the companies by the parish only had one signature line on the bond form, but two signatures were required.
Hamp’s Construction’s bid was the lowest received by the parish for about $4.7 million, but the company was disqualified in part because of their failure to sign the forms correctly.
Southern Delta Construction, who said they could complete the project for about $5.8 million, was named the low bidder after being one of two companies who filled out everything correctly. However Louis Badalamenti, a consultant to Hamp’s Construction, says that Southern Delta Construction made errors on additional paperwork that was sent to the parish.
He is now calling on the parish to disqualify Southern Delta’s bid.
Badalamenti secured Southern Delta’s post bid submittals to St. Charles through a public records request and found several problems with the firm’s paperwork.
Badalamenti provided documents showing that Southern Delta failed to list any of its equipment or material suppliers, which is specifically required on the form. A second signature line on the performance bond was also left blank and unsigned on two separate pages, and Southern Delta also failed to provide the contract number where required.
Badalamenti wrote that if he and other firms were disqualified for not signing the bid form correctly, the parish should also throw out Southern Delta’s post bid.
“(Public Works Director) Sam Scholle disqualified 4 of 6 bids citing that the Bid Bonds were not signed twice in the separate blank provided, although the Bid Bond Form provided in the specifications did not have a separate blank provided,” Badalamenti wrote. “Southern Delta Construction failed to sign the Performance and Payment Bond Forms twice and both respective Bond Forms do have separate blanks provided.
“Hamp’s Construction, LLC calls upon St. Charles Parish Government to immediately disqualify the bid of Southern Delta Construction, LLC, consider their bid abandoned, and annul the previously issued Notice of Award for reasons stated herein.”
Badalamenti added that Hamp’s Construction should be awarded the contract.
But the parish listed several reasons when they disqualified Hamp’s Construction’s bid in addition to their failure to sign the bond form correctly, saying that the firm ignored specifications established by the design engineer.
The parish also rejected the bid “because certain present or former executive employees, officers, directors, stockholders, partners, or owners have been found guilty in New Orleans Criminal District Court of illegally disposing of solid waste in a wetland area.”
Badalamenti said those charges have been expunged and that Hamp's may file a defamation lawsuit over the issue if the parish administration continues to use the charges as a basis for not awarding them the contract.
Councilman Larry Cochran said he received documents from Badalamenti that appear to show problems with Southern Delta’s paperwork. He said he is meeting with parish administration this week to discuss the issue.
Renee Simpson, spokeswoman for St. Charles Parish, said the administration would not be able to issue a response to the Herald-Guide about the issue before the paper’s deadline because the matter is still under legal review.
The St. Charles Parish Council will vote on whether or not to award a contract to Southern Delta Construction on Nov. 18. Simpson said someone from the administration will likely address the issue when the matter is taken up by the council.
The first phase of the Willowridge Levee in Luling will consist of clearing and grubbing the right of way and construction of a 5.5-foot-levee berm from Peterson Canal to an existing berm behind Willowridge Drive. There will be temporary gaps at Willowridge Drive and Cypress Drive to keep the current drainage flow in tact until the entire levee can be completed.