Public Bidding Hall of Fame: Yohe v. Lower Burrell

This post is one in a continuing series intended to highlight significant Pennsylvania court decisions in the area of public bidding.  The decision highlighted here concerns the core purpose of public bidding requirements. In 1965, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided Yohe Read more

Who Can Be Excluded From Public Bidding?

When a public bid is issued, can a municipality refuse to accept or open bids from any bidder it chooses? The answer is, yes and no.  In some cases, a municipality may engage in a pre-qualification process and exclude certain Read more

DGS Issues 2014 List Of Exempt Steel Products

The Pennsylvania Department of General Services has issued its annual list of machinery and equipment steel products which are exempt under the Pa. Steel Products Procurement Act.  The list for 2014 can be found Read more

Schuylkill Products Officers Sentenced To Prison And Ordered To Pay Restitution Of $119 Million For DBE Fraud

In the criminal fraud case involving Schuylkill Products, Inc., and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program (see my earlier post here about this case), the former Schuylkill Products vice presidents in charge of sales and marketing and field operations received lengthy prison sentences Read more

General

Former Philadelphia School Superintendent Ackerman Directed Award of No-Bid Contract

According to a recent Inquirer article, the Philadelphia School Reform Commission has concluded that former Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman directed Philadelphia School District staff to award a controversial $7.5 million no-bid contract for surveillance cameras to a small minority-owned firm in 2010.  The Philadelphia Inquirer article reporting the SRC’s conclusion can be found here.

My earlier post on the lawsuit which was filed by the company which lost the contract can be found here.  This news should bolster the chances of the company in its lawsuit against the School District.

Share this Post:

Linkedin Facebook Twitter Plusone Reddit Pinterest Stumbleupon Email

Posted on by Christopher I. McCabe, Esq. in General, Phila. School District Leave a comment

Philadelphia School District Sued Over Contract Award To Minority Firm

The Philadelphia School District has been sued by a suburban, white-owned firm which lost out on a School District contract in favor of a minority-owned firm.  The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that the firm, which lost a $7.5 million surveillance-camera project after former Philadelphia School Superintendent Arlene C. Ackerman allegedly intervened on behalf of a minority-owned firm, has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the School District and Ackerman.

The firm may have an uphill battle in its suit.  It is well-established that disappointed bidders have no standing to sue public entities for lost profits due to the loss of a contract award.  Moreover, the federal courts have held that disappointed bidders have no claims for due process violations for alleged bidding irregularities because the bidders themselves have no personal or property rights in the lost contract.

On the other hand, if the firm can establish that, but for the actions of Ackerman and due to the race of its owner or the race of the owner of the minority-owned firm, it would have obtained the contract, it may be able to prevail against the School District.  This suit in such case would be no different that the challenges to minority “set-aside” laws which were viewed as quotas and which were struck down by the courts.  If successful, the suit will result in an award of attorney’s fees in favor of the firm.

The suit is the fourth brought against the district in the aftermath of the decision to award an emergency, no-bid contract to a minority-owned firm to install surveillance cameras in 19 city schools the state had deemed dangerous. The School District justified bypassing its normal bidding requirements by calling the camera installation an “emergency.”

The Philadelphia Inquirer article can be found here.  An Inquirer article on a whistleblower suit by a former School District official arising out of the same contract award can be found here.

Share this Post:

Linkedin Facebook Twitter Plusone Reddit Pinterest Stumbleupon Email

Posted on by Christopher I. McCabe, Esq. in Phila. School District Leave a comment