New Mexico school district rescinds $24M contract

November 9, 2013 • State News

LOS LUNAS, N.M. (AP) — The Los Lunas school district has rescinded a $24 million contract from an out-of-state construction company after learning [auth] the firm paid an entry fee for one of the school’s bid evaluators to enter a shooting competition.

Another bidder reported seeing the school district’s construction supervisor, Antonio Sedillo, participating with a team from McCarthy Building Cos. at a skeet shooting match in Albuquerque, the Albuquerque Journal reported ( ) in a story published Saturday.

School Superintendent Bernard Saiz told the newspaper it was a “clear violation” of procurement rules.

Saiz said Sedillo was a member of the district’s team that was evaluating competitive bid proposals for the second phase of work on a new high school. The shooting competition was held after the bids came in but before a decision was made on which company to hire.

Sedillo has been placed on administrative leave with pay and is expected to face discipline.

The district will put the project out to bid again, Saiz said.

Bo Calbert, president of McCarthy’s Southwest Division, said the company plans to resubmit a bid for the contract.

“McCarthy NM has the utmost respect for the Los Lunas District’s RFP process and believes its selection of our team was based wholly on the professional standards and qualifications that they seek,” Calbert said in an email. “It’s disappointing that the district is in a position where the students and community may be impacted because of this appeal.”

McCarthy won an $18 million contract for the first phase of the project last year. The company has headed the construction of several major public and private projects in the state, such as the Sandia Hotel at Sandia Resort and Casino and the Presbyterian Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho.

Saiz said there’s no indication McCarthy’s first-place score in the latest project was in any way linked to Sedillo’s participation in the shooting match.

“But we want to ensure to the public that we are transparent and there has been no bias, and that’s why we are putting a new RFP out on the street with a new scoring committee,” he said.

Others who submitted proposals were Jaynes Corp., Gerald Martin Construction and Bradbury Stamm Construction.

McCarthy made headlines last year after state tax officials attempted to revoke the company’s in-state bidding preference certification for public works jobs. The company, based in St. Louis, has an office in Albuquerque.

The Taxation and Revenue Department said it erroneously granted the certification in June 2012, but the company appealed and won the right to continue to receive a 5 percent bidding preference.

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