Tuesday, September 18, 2012

September 18, 2012 (Another) Millennium Pre-Bid Conference

There was a pre-bid conference for the Millennium Square project on Wednesday, September 12, at the City Center.

Dan Brewer with Brewer, Ingram, and Fuller (BIF) was present. Lisa Hoskins with BIF presided over the meeting and took questions from contractors.

The Millennium project has been plagued by conflicts of interest, postponed bids, changes to plans,
re-bids, changes to specifications, and on and on it goes.

The initial grant money for a greenway project for Morristown College and surrounding area ended up years later going to the Millennium group to build a retail office shell for the Millennium group on Millennium property. To get the grant money (about $1.2 Million) for their project, the Millennium partners (Tim Wild and David Wild, Sidney Boyd, Hiram Jones and Tom Jones, James and Mira Craine, and Bill Young) leased a rooftop parking deck on the top of their retail office shell to the City as a "greenway" trailhead for 25 years and then the lease ends.

The rooftop public parking consists of about 22 spaces. Of those 22 spaces, two are to be handicapped and two are to be true restricted "greenway" parking.  The rest of the parking is just general first-come, first-served public parking that can and probably will be used primarily to benefit the Millennium group, owners of the adjacent Millennium Square Building.

When the project started, the Wild brothers--who are partners in the Millennium group--were planning on "competitively" bidding as general contractors on the project.

TDOT was told of some of the connections between the Wilds and the Millennium group, but TDOT was not told by the City or by the architects that the Wilds were assisting the architects as estimating consultants---a fact the City knew or should have asked about when the architect submitted an architectural proposal TO THE CITY that listed Wild as a proposed "consultant" for project estimating.

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) stopped the first planned bidding in late 2010 after Councilman Gene Brooks sent letters and provided documentation to TDOT regarding conflicts of interest and the Wilds apparent involvement as a consultant to the architect.

TDOT let the City (Todd Morgan), the architect (BIF), and the Wilds (through their attorney) present their positions.  TDOT then confirmed that conflicts existed and disqualified Wild from bidding at any point. [Several contractors also complained and refused to bid when they became aware of the conflicts.]

The project was first bid in spring 2011 and all bids were over-budget.

The project was bid a second time and there was one bidder. The one bid was over-budget.

The project is to be bid for a third time on October 3, 2012. No longer do bidders have to be TDOT pre-qualified.

Click herehere, herehere here, here, and here for background.

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