- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 19, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Charges won’t be filed against members of a public board after an apparent low bidder was passed over for demolition work on the Tar Creek Superfund cleanup site.

Spokesman Aaron Cooper for the Oklahoma attorney general’s office said Monday that it reviewed an audit examining the award of demolition work on the site and didn’t find any evidence to support criminal charges. Attorney General Scott Pruitt also ordered the state auditor’s office not to release its findings, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/1S6B1Go ) reported.

At issue are the contracts for work on northeast Oklahoma properties, which were contaminated by decades of lead and zinc mining. The Lead-Impacted Communities Relocation Assistance Trust was established to offer relocation assistance to property owners and oversee demolition work.

Businesses have sued the trust, challenging the fairness of its actions. In May 2010, a Rogers County judge ruled that the trust violated the state Opening Meeting Act and improperly awarded a $2.1 million demolition contract to a Miami, Oklahoma, company. That company had submitted a bid more than triple the $558,988 submitted by apparent low bidder DT specialized Services, which had filed a civil lawsuit after being snubbed for the contract.

Attorney Andy Lester for the trust characterized the lower bids as “nonresponsive” and “noncompliant” and said that’s why they weren’t picked. The trust rebid the project after the judge’s ruling. A different company called CWF was the low bidder the second time around and was awarded the contract.

Lester said he thought the attorney general made the right decision in directing the auditor not to release his findings. He compared it to a grand jury keeping details of an investigation secret when it decides no indictment is warranted.


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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