Firm Sues Iowa City Challenging Decision on Flood-damaged Buildings

August 22, 2008

A Florida company has filed a lawsuit against Cedar Rapids, Iowa challenging the city’s decision to reject its bid to demolish flood-damaged buildings.

Bunnell, Fla.-based Bamaco Inc., filed its lawsuit on August 19 in Linn County District Court. The company also wants an injunction to keep the city from seeking bids a third time.

The city rejected bids twice, once because of conflicting information in the request and the second time because the scope of the project had nearly doubled in size.

Bamaco had submitted the lowest qualifying bid and a resolution awarding the contract to Bamaco was placed on a city council agenda. It was later removed and the issue wasn’t discussed, court records show.

Bamaco claims the city didn’t honor its contract with the lowest bidder and that by seeking more bids, other companies know about Bamaco’s bid, which undermines the bidding process.

“I’m very upset, very upset,” said Robert Mitchell, Bamaco president. “We have absolutely bent over backwards, just unfair and unethical. It’s the most unfair thing I’ve ever seen done in my life.”

City Manager Jim Prosser said that while the city regrets that “we’re in a position where a company like Bamaco is suing us,” he says the city has the right to cancel the bid.

“We’re in an environment where facts change quickly, needs change quickly and ultimately it’s our responsibility to do what’s in the best interest of taxpayers,” he said.

Prosser said that with the number of homes to be demolished from 28 to 50, he hopes the city can get a lower bid.

But Mitchell claims Bamaco knew of the list of homes could grow when it submitted its bid and that with a third bidding process, other companies would know Bamaco’s bid, giving them an unfair advantage.

“I just don’t know if there’s a word to describe it,” he said. “We’re people of our word, and that’s what we feel like they should be.”

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