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Lawsuit filed over $66 million contract

A construction company based in the borough of Wood-Ridge filed a lawsuit in New Jersey on July 7 in an attempt to get the award for a $66 million contract overturned. The plaintiff claims that the winning bidder of the contract doesn't have the electrical subcontractor required to complete the project. The company claims that otherwise, it would have been the lowest bidder for building the new justice center. The project will be the largest in Bergen County history, totaling $147 million.

The plaintiff's lawyers filed suit in an attempt to invalidate the Board of Freeholders vote to award the contract to a Wayne-based construction company on July 2. County officials had been expecting civil action since the plaintiff was already unsuccessful in filing a protest to the bidding process with the County Public Works director. The Freeholders' chairman and the County Public Works director both defended the ruling that the Wayne-based company was the lowest bid.

The Wayne-based company submitted a $65.925 million, $5.87 million less than the plaintiff's bid. There were seven bidders for the Hackensack-based project. The plaintiff contends that the subcontractor listed on the Wayne-based company's bid is a shell corporation and that this is an indication of post-bid shopping, or an attempt to profit at the expense of taxpayers by outsourcing the work at a lower rate than proposed after receiving the award.

Lawyers representing the Wayne-based company declined to make any public comments concerning the contract litigation. The county has not made any public comments about the lawsuit either. Construction at the project site has been going on for several months already. The date of the hearing has been set for July 23. The plaintiff's lawyers say the county has agreed to hold off on signing the contract until the judge issues a final ruling on the lawsuit.

Source: NorthJersey.com, "Suit by Terminal Construction company faults $66 million Bergen County contract award", John C. Ensslin, July 09, 2014

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