- Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - After spending months defending a decision to award a $7.6 million West Virginia Lottery building renovation project to a contractor that didn’t submit the lowest bid, state officials now say they made serious errors.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Kelli Talbott, a lawyer for the Lottery Commission, recently told the West Virginia Supreme Court that the documents state officials had released for the construction companies were flawed and had been confusing, the Charleston Gazette-Mail (https://bit.ly/1UNGQJ5 ) reports.

Among the criticized elements of the bid application was the fact that the Lottery Commission asked contractors to list three references but failed to attach a required form on which to include them. Maynard C. Smith Construction of Charleston, the lowest bidder, was disqualified for not listing references.

The Lottery Commission is now asking the Supreme Court to uphold Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey’s decision in June to award the contract to Maynard.

For months, the Lottery had argued that Wiseman Construction, the second-lowest bidder, should get the contract. But after Bailey sided with Maynard - and the commission signed a contract with the company in late July - Talbott said it’s too late to go back and award the contract to Wiseman.

“The taxpayers of the state of West Virginia are best served by allowing the circuit court’s final order to stand,” Talbott wrote in her filing.

In response, Wiseman Construction’s lawyer, Jim Cagle, skewered state officials, accusing them of being “timid” and “throwing in the towel.”

Cagle said state officials created and released the bid documents and Wiseman shouldn’t be punished for those mistakes.

“Wiseman adhered (to the project’s requirements), Maynard did not,” Cagle wrote.

The Lottery plans to spend $7.6 million to renovate its parking garage and three floors of office space.


Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.

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