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The contract awarded to Adler Roofing Company to replace the roof on a village public works building was withdrawn at the last regular board meeting of 2012.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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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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