Birds of a feather

I met with a long time school board member from another Minnesota District this afternoon who has been squawking about his school board’s spendthrift ways. It seems that one of the contractors who got a job through JCI on the Red Plan has also set up shop to help bleed his District too though on a much smaller scale.

Its going to be supplying the materials for a couple million bucks worth of new roofs that were still under warranty, were in good repair, without an inspection, with a fixed bid that prevented contractors with equivalent materials from bidding five to eight years before the roofs were expected to fail and with a reputation of charging 20% or more of what similar roofs generally cost.

As he’s been digging around he got a state auditor to issue an opinion that found a lot of fault with the way the District went about getting the bid for instance by advertising it in as obscure a way as possible so that other contractors wouldn’t catch site of it and complain.

The Board member has contacted other School Districts in Minnesota and slowly accumulated evidence of similar abusive situations with this building supplier. In one case, in Chanhasson, when these fixed (they are called “propietory” bids) were unsealed one contractor underbid the other contractors for a roof by a whopping $400,000.00. This contractor simply didn’t use the propiatory specs that were required of every other contractor using this company’s roofing materials because, as could be easily demonstrated, other much less costly materials were just as good if not better.

When Chanhasson’s buyer, so the story goes, accepted the less expensive bid the contractors raised hell and he was fired for saving his District nearly half a million dollars.

The company is Garland Roofing which won a similar controversial bid to roof Duluth’s Stowe school well before that building’s roof was expected to fail. JCI selected them.

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