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Losing Bidder Appeals Crime Lab Contract Pick

Did D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) jump the gun earlier this week in announcing that the city was awarding a Baltimore-based construction company a $133 million contract to build a forensics laboratory? Yes, says a rival company that has filed a protest with the city's Contract Appeals Board.

An attorney for a rival company said yesterday that it offered to build the facility for less and that Fenty's announcement was premature since its challenge is still pending.

"To make decisions to go forward when there is a genuine, substantive dispute doesn't seem in the best interest of all involved," said Rod Woodson, counsel for District-based Tompkins Builders.

Tompkins filed a protest with the appeals board in February when the company learned it lost a bid to Whiting-Turner, a Baltimore-based development company.

A spokeswoman for Whiting-Turner could not be reached by phone and did not return an e-mail request for comment.

But Sean Madigan, a spokesman for deputy Mayor for Economic Development, said the city believes Whiting-Turner was the best firm for the job and "wanted to keep the project moving."

"It's not uncommon for people to file appeals," he said. "We wanted to proceed as is. It'll be parallel with the contract dispute."

But what if Tompkins wins its appeal? "Then, we will have to switch gears," Madigan said.

The new $220 million, six-story building is slated to open in 2011 at be at 415 Fourth Street SW, the former site of the police department's 1st District headquarters. The building will house the city's first crime laboratory along with a public health lab and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. The city has long been criticized for not having a crime lab. The city must rely on the FBI to process forensic evidence while the Drug Enforcement Administration analyzes drugs.

-- Nikita Stewart

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  |  May 8, 2009; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  Mayor Fenty , Nikita Stewart  
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Posted by: mabumford | May 8, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

I wonder if Whiting-Turner has some money in FenTOOL's war chest.

Posted by: logosdesigns | May 8, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

In these tight budget times, why would DC pay more to build this project?

Posted by: DCBlogger | May 9, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Is anyone surprised the deal was announced before it should have been? This is typical of the 'leadership' in the mayor's office. The question should be: how long ago the decision was made before he slipped and announced it?

How many other times has this happened?
How many more times will DC residents let it go?
How many more times until the 'mayor' is held accountable?
Who in the 'mayor's' regime has ties to this company in Baltimore?
Why during these times would a sizable contract leave the city?
Why is he still in office with all of his 'imps' around him?

Posted by: southyrndiva | May 11, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

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