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.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.
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.
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.