With its efforts to politicize the DWP without solving problems on hold for the moment, the City Council turned its attention to the massive construction program at LAX with questions about the integrity of its contracting practices and executive director Gina Marie Lindsey.
At issue was the awarding of a $271.5 million design-build contract for a new heating/air conditioning system to the Clark/McCarthy joint venture, the low bidder among the two qualified bidders.
A third bidder, none other than Ron Tutor’s Tutor-Perini formally protested the award back in August but was turned down after a City Attorney’s review.
That’s right that Ron Tutor, the contractor with an over-abundance of political clout and toughness to almost always get his way, the same Ron Tutor who not long ago traded in his Hidden Hills mansion for a $32 million 27,000-square-foot mega-mansion with 10 bedrooms and 13 toilets in Beverly Park while his two daughters are making do with a couple of new 12,000-square-foot bungalows priced in the $13 million range.
Led by a visibly angry and disdainful Tony Cardenas, the Council grilled Roger Johnson, LAX’s deputy executive director for airport development, like he was a suspect in a mass murder case.
Cardenas made it clear his real target was Lindsey, the highly regarded airport chief, because she might have had dealings with the winning bidder at her previous job in Seattle.
Johnson told him that he didn’t know if Clark/McCarthy was awarded a contract at Seattle/Tacoma Airport when Lindsey was there but assured him she had no involvement at any time during the contracting process.
“I beg to differ,” Cardenas retorted snidely.
Later, he resumed his prosecutorial posture, cutting off Johnson’s answers.
Even as his blood pressure was clearly rising, Johnson explained with
great patience the bidding process, how he set up 10 separate bid evaluation teams and got no direction from Lindsey who knew nothing about the process until he informed her of the winning bidder.
What’s even more amazing is why Tutor-Saliba was disqualified.
Johnson reported that unlike other bidders it used its own weather data — 20 degrees lower in the summer and five degrees warmer in the winter — to show the energy efficiency of its system.
Asked why, Johnson said the company offered “multiple conflicting responses,” for its “misrepresentation of energy usage” and there were “discrepancies and misinformation” in its responses.
Then, just before the hearing on its protest, Tutor-Perini withdrew its proposal and dropped its protest, signing a settlement agreement with LAX without receiving any payment.
In other words, Tutor told LAX to go to hell and went to work on lobbying the Council — the same tactic used so successfully by well-connected insiders to politicize food and other concessions at the airport.
They found a willing ally in Dennis Zine who wanted to know why Tutor didn’t get the contract when he bid
$30 million less than the winner and built the existing heating/air
conditioning plant 50 years ago.
Janice Hahn complained about Tutor-Perini’s heavily lobbying Council members to throw out the contract award.
Bill Rosendahl warned his colleagues they were jumping into a hornet’s next and politicizing the contract process in a destructive way by delaying a decision..
“It just allows another two weeks of politics around this horseshoe,” he said..
Eventually, the Council voted to continue the discussion until its next meeting on Jan. 4.
Before adjourning for the year, Council President Eric Garcetti offered congratulations to his colleagues for a “great, great calendar year” in which they solved the city’s budget crisis and did so much “to improve the lives of Angelenos” by voting on 23,675 measures — 99.93 percent unanimously. .