Big Coppitt – Bid Irregularities?


Big Coppitt:  it’s a puzzle.

The Big Coppitt project is….interesting.  It is the second most expensive of all the sewer projects in the unincorporated area on a per EDU basis – over $21,000 per EDU.  Cudjoe Regional, of course, comes in first at over $22,000 and counting.

Interesting fact #1:  For all the taxpayer money lavished on this project, it doesn’t seem to function all that well.  Monthly Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMR’s) required by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) indicate ongoing difficulty meeting effluent requirements.  FDEP conducted an inspection that found numerous issues.  The ongoing problems are discussed here and here.

Interesting fact #2:  The bid process was unusual.  The initial bid occurred on January 31, 2007.  Those bids were rejected and the project was rebid on March 23, 2007 and eventually awarded in April 2007.  The rejected bids were discussed at the March 2007 FKAA meeting, but no supporting documentation was provided.  At that time, the reason given for rebidding the project was “issues with the initial bid results”.  Vague.

The results of the second bid were dramatically different from the first.  Here’s a comparison table.  The high-lighted numbers are the low bids.

Big Coppitt Bids

And here are some observations.

  • Toppino was the low bidder on Contract 2 and 4 the first time around.  That would have netted them $3.7 million worth of work.
  • The second time around, Toppino was the low bidder on Contract 3 – worth $9.7 million.  The re-bid turned out to be a $6 million bonus for Toppino.
  • WPC was the low bidder on Contract 3 on the first bid.  Toppino’s bid was deemed “non-responsive”.
  • New bidder ADB won $3.5 million on their own.  And partnered with original winning bidder WPC for another $5.6 million.
  • Gianetti lost $7.7 million worth of work due to the re-bid, but does not appear to have protested. That is very odd.
  • Somewhere along the way, there was some shifting of contracts.  For one thing, ADB/WPC seems to have dropped out of the project and Gianetti found their back way in.  More research needed.

Interesting fact #3:  Not only were the results of the second bid dramatically different, but the FKAA was extremely reluctant to provide the original bid tabulation.  The county – the very people responsible for overseeing these projects – claimed not to have it either.  As mentioned above, the original bid tabulation was never provided as agenda back-up.  It took multiple public records requests and over six months to get the FKAA to cough it up.  The results of the second bid were readily available, but not this one.  Why?  Why did the FKAA say it wasn’t available when clearly it was?

A closer look is definitely warranted.


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1 Response to Big Coppitt – Bid Irregularities?

  1. Pingback: The Blue Paper/Key West The Newspaper - The Best Thing the Governor Can Do For the Keys -

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