Village Board Upholds No-Bid Demo Contract After Complaint Is Received

Oak Lawn trustees decide not rescind no-bid contract for Harley-Davidson demolition at 111th and Cicero after receiving complaint that contractor has relative working for village.

Oak Lawn Village board members were being extra careful when it was learned that the demolition contractor hired to take down the former Harley-Davidson building at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue had a relative employed by the village.

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Mayor Dave Heilmann informed Oak Lawn trustees of the complaint he had received of Environmental Cleansing Corp. after the village board voted to waive the competitive bidding process for the Harley-Davidson demolition contract at the Jan. 8 board meeting.

The Markham-based demolition firm recently completed demolition on the old Kmart building at the same site to prepare the land for redevelopment.

“They did a great job,” Heilmann said at Tuesday’s village board meeting. “Because I received complaints that the contractor had a relative working in village hall, I put that back on the agenda. Nothing untoward happened.”

The village is currently under a federal criminal investigation for possible bid tampering after a bid was awarded to a roofing firm that employed Trustee Bob Streit’s brother even though the company had not submitted the lowest bid.

The contract awarded to Adler Roofing Company to replace the roof on a village public works building was withdrawn at the last regular board meeting of 2012. The village was subpoenaed a few days later on Dec. 13 to release all records related to the competitive bidding process, amid allegations that bid specifications were tampered with.

Heilmann said he wasn’t advocating either way if the village should withdraw the contract awarded to Environmental Cleansing Corporation.

“I want this before our board so that everyone knows about the complaint and that we evaluated it,” the mayor said.

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Oak Lawn Village Manager Larry Deetjen said that the village did a thorough investigation after the allegation came to light.

“This isn’t about the firm, they’ve done excellent work,” Deetjen said. “The question was the rationale used by the board to waive competitive bidding and make this work available to (Environmental Cleansing Corp.) who was mobilized and already on the site.”

Deetjen said that the demolition company was one of eight that bid on the Kmart demolition. Environmental Cleansing Corp. submitted the lowest bid at $489,000. The next highest qualifying bid was submitted for $712,000, and the highest bid was $1.99 million.

“I explained to those board members who called me that there was a mandatory pre-bidding conference where we met with the bidders [for the Kmart demolition],” Deetjen said. “It was highly competitive and we had an incredibly competitive bid.”

The village manager acknowledged that Environmental Cleansing Corp. has ties to Oak Lawn and that the company likes to bid low so that it can do work in the community.

“This is what they do,” Deetjen said. “”They can localize nearby and get there quicker and faster. The bid reflects that.”

During the pre-bid meeting on the Kmart demolition, Deetjen said he told the bidding companies to keep in consideration that other demolition work would become available at the site if they did a good job.

“We asked [Environmental Cleansing Corp.] to give us a price that reflected those bids for Harley-Davidson,” Deetjen said. “We had the village engineer compute the costs and determined it was roughly the same cost per square foot. It was pretty good.”

Deetjen said that fencing has already been placed around the Harley-Davidson building and an asbestos removal plan submitted to Cook County.

“I don’t think we should rescind,” Trustee Carol Quinlan (Dist. 5) said.

There was no motion by the village board to withdraw the contract. Deetjen said to expect seeing demolition begin on the Harley-Davidson building at the end of the month.

Moving on the other village board news, trustees approved a special-use ordinance to allow a “massage establishment” to move into the Oak Lawn Promenade retail center at 95th Street and Ridgeland Avenue.

The Planning and Development Commission had unanimously recommended the petition submitted by Chang Suo Xue for approval by the village board.

The “massage establishment” has an open floor plan and plans to offer mostly foot massages and footbaths. Clients would remain fully clothed and there are no closed rooms or shower areas. Employees are state-licensed massage therapists.


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District 666 Resident January 25, 2013 at 02:53 PM
So the board votes unanimously to allow a relative's company do the demolition? It seems that the whole roof "Issue" is looking more political every day! In that case three board members were against the contract because a family member worked for the company. Here they are for the contract. Consistency is not a staple of this board but politics seems to be
Brad January 25, 2013 at 03:45 PM
I think this has been handled perfectly. The major difference between this and the roofing contract, is that Environmental was the lowest bid by far. The roofing was awarded to the company with Streit ties, and were not the lowest bid. I do not see any shananigans with this at all, and applaud everyone for putting it on the agenda to ensure the air is cleared.
Rick Drew January 25, 2013 at 03:58 PM
Since asbestos was not used in the building's construction (It's been illegal since the 1980's for new construction.) Although some residential / home use products can have trace amounts of asbestos, those don't require special handling.So why the special asbestos removal?
BibbidyBobbidyBoo January 25, 2013 at 04:23 PM
"...the demolition contractor hired to take down the former Harley-Davidson building at 111th Street and Cicero Avenue had a relative employed by the village". In what capacity is this relative employed? If it's a maintenance worker at Village Hall or a firefigher, I don't see that as a conflict or reason for concern. Now, if that employee is on the Village board or Planning commission, different story. "Relative" isn't very specific - a cousin, brother-in-law, or wife working for OL? Was that relationship or job position revealed? I am glad Mayor Dave brought it forth.
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 07:07 PM
That building was originally used in a smaller capacity for other things, dating back to the 80's. I don't know what year exactly, nor for certain the precise use for which it was built; I DO know it was a teen dance club in the mid 80's to early 90's called Rock A-B's. So that might be the overlap in time-frames...
Dave W. January 25, 2013 at 07:10 PM
I agree, unless somebody knows of some underhanded, off-the-books type stuff, how much better can something be handled? The first bid was not hidden, and when there was the slightest question, it was brought back up...
Neighborhood Guy January 25, 2013 at 07:28 PM
Brad, you are WRONG again. Read the story. It states that the board waived competitive bidding and awarded the contract without bids. So how the heck can they be the "lowest bid by far". I'll expect you to retract your statement immediately but instead will problably get phelanesque double talk. This contract cystalizes the problem with this board. The roofing contract was publicly bid while this demolition contract was given to a company with a relative on the payroll.
Judge Judy January 25, 2013 at 07:56 PM
Brad~ "shananigans"?LOL Adler Roofing : $166,085 CSR Roofing: $162,995 (estimated) = -$3090.00 less than Adler DCG Roofing : $161,175. = - $4909.00 less than Adler The two companies that had submitted lower bids were knocked out of the running because they did not provide a start date requested in the bid specifications…..(Patch) Village attorney Paul O’Grady explained that only two companies provided a schedule that was specified in the bid specifications.**** Any deviations from the language in a bid, such as providing information that was not requested or not providing information specified in the bid, are grounds for rejecting a bid, even if it is the lowest. “The first two bidders currently did not provide a schedule, which was part of the specifications, so they technically didn’t comply,” O’Grady said. “It was a material deviation we were told.” *****( DCG also submitted an alternate bid that was $9,800 less than its original bid, offering to switch out materials ***** Although technically never in the running because he did not include a start date in his bid package. Bidders were also told verbally by public works staff that a schedule was to be included in the bid, Heilmann said…(Patch).
Brad January 25, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Neighborhood guy, did you even read the article? They were the lowest bidder by far on the Kmart portion, $419k, $712k, $1.99 mil. A village engineer looked at it and the Harley quote was roughly the same per square foot. And they did a great on the first portion, and are still on site, so it gets done quickly. And the feds think something could be wrong with the roofing contract. That is more than just local politics. I 100% stand by my statement that the demo was handled correctly. Especially that it was brought up again when a relative was discovered. I also agree with BBB, in that who the relative is does make a difference. Lastly Judge Judy, $3-5000 is a pretty good chunk of cash when the village is hurting to balance their budget. And the fact remains that they were the third lowest bid. The start date or schedule portion to me does not pass the smell test. Let's say you got three quotes for contractors to redo your bathroom, and asked to include a schedule. You get the three bids back and the two lowest didn't include the schedule. Would you call them and ask for the missing schedule, or just disqualify them and pay the higher price?
Neighborhood Guy January 25, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Brad, Yes I read the article and bidding on one building is not the same as bidding on another. The only reason the feds looked into the roofing contract was because one trustee called the other bidders and claimed that illegal activity took place. You'll notice that the feds didn't do anything so I would say that they are on to his political shennanigans. As far as your question to the judge, let me tell you that quotes for your home have nothing to do with public bids. If you don't meet the bid specs then no the village can't call you up and tell you to supply the material after the fact.
Gene January 26, 2013 at 06:24 PM
that whole building was rebuild or remodel in early 2000 why tear it down just sell it and let somone else do what they want to it. the village shouldn't be paying to have tore down. get the owners of harley-davidson to do it. now the villagers aren't flipping the billfor it. now you can use this money for something more important.
OakLawnGuy January 26, 2013 at 06:31 PM
Gene I don't think Harley owns that building, nor the land it sits on. This is all part and parcel of the deal: they want and have always wanted a clean slate to hand a developer, and to expand the Stony Creek area. That's why OL bought the muffler shop and are working (behind the scenes, as one commenter posted) to do something with Flapjack's as well.
Donna January 26, 2013 at 10:25 PM
This project is going to be a big bust. Once they push Flapjacks out of OL we aren't even going to benefit from the tax revenue they bring in. Plus, we don't have that many good places to eat now so why get rid of one of the few around. I see more new strip malls vacant than old ones. And let’s not even get into the over sized addition to Christ Hospital; wow, what a way to destroy the look of a town.
Coach's Fan January 26, 2013 at 10:37 PM
Was it really such a great look at 111th and Cicero?
Donna January 27, 2013 at 04:13 PM
It was better than two huge structures sitting flush with 95th st.
ME February 09, 2013 at 06:47 PM
These days, it helps to know someone. Just try looking for a job these days. If you don't know someone, you aren't going to get in! So what if the person was a relative. As long as everyone did their homework and voted fairly, and voted based on past work history, price, timeliness, quality of work, etc, and picked the company based on those and other important factors, then great. If the person was chosen solely on the fact that he is a relative, then that is wrong! The lowest prices is not always the best way to go. Look at who did our streets after Crest was booted off for being a few bucks too high! Quality trumps lowest bid!


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