Monday, June 15, 2009

Yet More Pay to Play Indianapolis Politics? Activist Alleges That Indygo Roof Project Bid Rigged in Favor of Politically Connected Company

Over at Welcome to My Teaparty blog, the ever viligant Diana Vice rings the alarm about Indianapolis taxpayers possibly being ripped off by another overly expensive roof project brought to you by the politically-connected Tremco:
According to roofing industry sources, several Indiana roofing businesses have filed or are planning to file complaints with the Indianapolis Deputy Mayor and IndyGo for what they perceive to be unfair bidding and business practices initiated by the city's public transportation entity for a large and expensive roofing project.

Those complaining say that a 400,000 square foot roofing project may end up costing taxpayers much more than it should, and that the specifications are written in such a way that it shuts out competition to favor Tremco, an Ohio-based roofing manufacturer.

According to the bid documents, Jeff Cacioppo is listed as the roofing consultant for the IndyGo project. Cacioppo was the Tremco contact for the AEPA no-bid roofing scheme that was recently declared to be illegal by Indiana's Attorney General. Indiana roofing businesses have complained that they were shut out of competition for millions of dollars in school roofing projects before the scheme was shut down by state officials, and now they are crying foul over the tactics used by city administrators for this latest public works project.

None of this makes sense to Indiana roofing business owners and employees, who are wondering why a roof consultant from Ohio was involved in the first place. They say there are many qualified roof consultants in Indiana, and that scarce tax dollars should not be benefiting the economy of a neighboring state when Indiana's own economy could use a boost.

Some say this is especially insulting to Firestone Products, a world leader in the manufacturing of roofing products and materials. Firestone's world headquarters is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, and yet according to roofing industry sources, the Indiana company is shut out of the IndyGo job. Company officials of the international company are reportedly angry at this latest controversy involving public works projects in Indiana.
Diana Vice proceeds to ask city officials some very pertinent questions about how the bidding specifications were written. The rest of her post can be found here.

Let me try to summarize what is going on. Diana Vice has battled Tremco for some time on the failure to follow state bidding laws when it came to school roofing projects. In particular, networking through a purchasing agent, Tremco was not being required to go through the bidding process to win school roofing jobs. Those roofs would often cost 3 times what other roofs would cost.

Diana Vice won when the Attorney General's Office, finally, issued an opinion saying that these projects need to be bid out. What you're seeing alleged here is that Tremco is employing Plan B. When you can't get around the bidding rules, you It's simply have your buddies putting together the bid write the specifications in such a way that only your company can quality. That is the claim Diana Vice is making, which she has, as always, researched thoroughly and displayed on her website.

To say that the the Indygo roof bid process may have been rigged to favor politically-connected Tremco is about as much as a surprise as walking into a casino and find gambling going on. Indianapolis is a hotbed of pay-to-play politics. Tremco hires the biggest, most politically-connected law firms which will aggressively pursue citizens like Diana Vice who dare to speak out about possible violations of Indiana's bidding laws by Tremco and those the company works with to secure bids. Previously I wrote extensively about the SLAPP lawsuit filed against Diana Vice by Tremco and the need for legislative reform to put the stop to such actions by government contractors. The idea of suing citizens for expressing their free speech rights is as repugnant as anything I have seen in my 21 years of practicing law.

Although issues regarding bidding can be complex, it is something that concerned taxpayers need to keep an eye on.

You can find here a letter from a roofing industry consultant concerned that the Indygo bidding process may have been rigged in favor of Tremco violation of anti-trust, bid rigging and racketeering laws.


jabberdoodle said...

Its too bad that conflict of interest statements and reporting of gifts are not required of School Administrators in key money positions.

Political connects would not drive pay-to-play schemes in school districts.

Purchasing agents, at least, in government paid jobs should have some disclosure requirements.

Diana Vice said...

Thanks for spreading the word, Paul. I just got word this morning that IndyGo is cooperating and listening to the concerns. We were told that the specs are going to be rewritten to include real competition.

Flipper said...

My company in the 80's sold and installed a Tremco roofing product called Tremco Roof Blanket for mobile homes. I managed to win a federal law suit against them for price rigging of a certain accessory product they manufactured. Of course they put my company out of business. They are vicious. I would be willing to discuss my experience with Tremco to who ever is interested. Contact

Jon said...

All businesses that complete competitive bids on school projects are required to file a non collusion affadavit. If the total price of the project is over 75k it must be bid.

Paul K. Ogden said...


It seems to me collusion is already against the law. Filing an "affidavit" that you're not colluding would only add a possible perjury charge. But if the prosecutor's aren't prosecuting it really doesn't matter how many non-collusion affidavits are signed.

Baloo said...

Guess Mayor Ballard's Ethic's ordinance isn't worth the tax payers dollars it cost to right it, if his staff, and appointments are not going to follow them.

I know said...

Keep digging!
Keep printing!

Sooner or later the mess will tumble out and many will be sunburnt. Great work!!!!!!

usa said...

Jeff Cacioppo is unscrupulous and clearly colluded

Robert Solomon said...

Mr. Ogden, and Ms. Rice are to be held as examples of fulfilling civic responsibilities.

It is vicious, nasty, greasy, scenarios they must deal with each day, and I know it.

I too fight public roofing scams, and have for a number of years now.

I knew the fight would be very long,very difficult,and come with great sacrifice.

So, I removed the club from hands that wish me harm, and have not received one nickel of income for almost ten years now.

That includes manufacturers, distributors, consultants, contractors. I do not solicit, nor accept money, or personal advancement from anyone, for anything I do.

Should anyone like to see my work, or if the fine people here would like to link my blogsite, I would be humbled to help anyone I can.

Tremco and Garland are unable to participate in honest competition for your taxpayer dollars, so they do it by "Excluding" all competition.

Illegal in all 50 states, and immoral to a degree that defies ration and reason.

Please do visit me (I do not allow advertising, nor do I care about subscriptions)at:

I am a great friend to your effort.


Robert R. "Ron" Solomon
Manager, Roof Consultant's Alliance
CCC1325620 (State Certification)

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