Can Retainage Be Held Until Final Completion Of The Project?

On public projects, an owner typically withholds retainage of 10%. Can the owner hold this 10% retainage until final completion? The short answer is, No! Section 3921 of the PA Procurement Code mandates that, when the contract is 50% completed, retainage "shall Read more

Can A Public Owner Ever Seek Clarification Of Ambiguous Pricing?

Recently, a public owner solicited bids for a university construction project. The bid form sought pricing for base bid work and alternate work. One of the bidders included ambiguous pricing for an alternate item, in that the pricing was Read more

Debriefing After Non-Selection Does Not Toll 7-Day Deadline For Bid Protest

The Pa. Procurement Code sets a strict deadline for bid protests - the protest must be filed within seven days after the protestant knew or should have known of the facts giving rise to the protest.  If the protest is untimely, it Read more

Does Separations Act Prohibit Use Of Best Value Contracting For Construction Of Philadelphia Public Buildings?

Now that "best value" contracting is officially the new game in town for City of Philadelphia procurement, with the issuance of the new best value regulations, it's worth asking whether the longstanding Separations Act precludes the City from using best Read more

Does PA Steel Act Prohibit Public Owner From Specifying Foreign-Made Cast Iron Boiler?

The PA Steel Products Procurement Act requires that all steel products (including cast iron products) supplied on a Pennsylvania public works project must be made from U.S.-made steel. Recently, a school district's contract specified a cast iron boiler manufactured in Europe as the Read more

Pennsylvania Steel Erector Indicted In DBE Pass-Through Scheme And Suspended On Federally Funded Contracts

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If you are a prime contractor working on federally-funded transportation projects, beware of fraud involving the U.S. Department of Transportation’s disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program. A recently exposed “pass-through” scheme involving $27 million in federally-funded contracts scheme was engineered together by subcontractor Century Steel Erectors Co., and WMCC, Inc., a certified DBE.

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Posted on by Christopher I. McCabe, Esq. in DBE/MBE/WBE, PennDOT Leave a comment

DBE Fraud Guilty Pleas Result In Sentences Of Probation And Restitution Of $1.3 Million

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In my post from yesterday, found here, I reported on the DBE “pass-through” fraud scheme engineered by Carl M. Weber Steel Service, Inc., and Karen Construction, Inc.

On January 11, 2016, Dennis and Dale Weber, the owners of Weber Steel, were each sentenced to six months’ home confinement and five years’ probation, and Weber Steel was placed on three years’ probation. All three were also ordered to jointly pay $1 million in restitution to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

On February 3, 2016, Judy Noll, the owner of Karen, was sentenced to three years’ probation and ordered to separately pay $336,219 in restitution to FHWA.  

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General press release on the sentencing can be found here.

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Posted on by Christopher I. McCabe, Esq. in DBE/MBE/WBE Leave a comment

Four Plead Guilty In Fraud Scheme To Obtain $18.7 Million In DBE Subcontracts On PennDOT Projects

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Still another “pass-through” fraud scheme involving the U.S. Department of Transportation’s disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program has been exposed, with criminal penalties for all involved.

On October 8, 2015, Dennis Weber, Dale Weber, Carl M. Weber Steel Service, Inc., and Judy Noll pleaded guilty to federal conspiracy charges related to a complex DBE fraud scheme that, incredibly, lasted for more than 16 years, totaled almost $19 million, and involved 224 bridge projects throughout Pennsylvania.

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Posted on by Christopher I. McCabe, Esq. in DBE/MBE/WBE, PennDOT Leave a comment

DGS Issues Preliminary List Of Exempt Steel Products For 2016

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The Pennsylvania Department of General Services (DGS) has issued a preliminary and updated list of machinery and equipment steel products which will be exempt under the Pa. Steel Products Procurement Act for 2016.  The list was published in the Pa. Bulletin on Saturday, February 6, 2016, and can be found here.

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Posted on by Christopher I. McCabe, Esq. in DGS, Steel Products Act Leave a comment

2016 Bidding Thresholds Announced For State Authorities And Municipalities

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Effective January 1, 2016, the thresholds for public bidding by Pennsylvania state authorities and municipalities will remain unchanged from 2015 and are as follows:

  • Purchases and contracts below $10,500 require no formal bidding or written/telephonic quotations
  • Purchases and contracts between $10,500 and $19,400 require three written/telephonic quotations
  • Purchases and contracts over $19,400 require formal bidding

Bidding thresholds are adjusted annually for inflation by the Pa. Department of Labor & Industry under Act 90 of 2011. The Pa. Bulletin announcement announcing the 2016 bidding thresholds can be found here.

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