Suit against city expands

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The city's legal fight over its purchasing practices enlarged this week to include a minority business program.

Sandy Hodson
Database Reporter
E-mail | 706-823-3226

Thompson Building Wrecking Co. amended its Richmond County Superior Court lawsuit to add allegations that the city enacted an unconstitutional Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program ordinance.

In Augusta, the program, which seeks to increase business opportunities for minority contractors, has caused reverse discrimination, the complaint alleges.

Daniel Hamilton, one of the attorneys defending the city, said Thursday that he has not seen the amended complaint, but believes the city's procurement department operates legally and ethically.

Thompson's battle with the city began last year when city officials used the company's technical violation of the bidding process to reject one of Thompson's bids.

The Augusta demolition company was eliminated from the competition to tear down an empty Telfair Street building. Thompson's bid was more than $250,000 cheaper than the bid chosen.

Since then, Thompson's legal offensive against the city has led to a lawsuit over what it claims are unfair and arbitrary bidding processes. Tuesday's amendment to the lawsuit expands on that theme.

Mr. Hamilton said the facts will support the procurement department's balanced consideration and recommendations on bids.

Thompson's complaint alleges that the use of racial classification is legal only to correct discriminatory practices. To be used properly, a pattern of discrimination must first be identified - a step Augusta leaders skipped, the lawsuit alleges.

The city ordinance states that the purpose of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program is to promote equal opportunity. To do this, it allows the city to set policy and procedures to ensure Augusta's minority-owned small businesses have equal access to city contracts.

Thompson's amended complaint alleges that nonminority contractors have been discriminated against because the city's procurement policies put them at a competitive disadvantage.

The lawsuit further contends that the city has awarded contracts to non-Augusta businesses over city-owned companies. It alleges that more than half of the companies on the city's Disadvantaged Business Enterprise list are not Augusta businesses.

Specifically, Thompson contends that three particular bids were chosen by commissioners under the false impression that the awards were going to Augusta businesses.

According to the Georgia Secretary of State Web site, all three - Acsential Technologies, B&E Jackson and Reliable Demolition - are in the Atlanta area. The companies' owners also list addresses in the Atlanta area.

Reach Sandy Hodson at (706) 823-3226 or sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (19) Add comment
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MyOpinion2
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MyOpinion2 01/19/07 - 11:08 am
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If the city want to use

If the city want to use minorities, fine. But the company with the minorities working for them need to do the contract for the lowest bid. I don't want to see any of more of my tax dollars going to work on a project. If it can be done $250,000 cheaper than the company that does it needs to do it at the lowest price.

getalife
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getalife 01/19/07 - 11:25 am
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The minority decision should

The minority decision should only be used when the bids are close and cheaper. Big differences should go to the lowest bid. With this much money in question, it sure is a place where people could be paid under the table to select a certain bid. In the case of the $250,000 lower price, that one needs to be checked out by the GBI. Augusta has gotten to the point where it is too racial and with many of the officals being black are now discriminating against whites.

apex24
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apex24 01/19/07 - 12:07 pm
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Well, we know the routine.

Well, we know the routine. All white people are racist and never give the black folks what they deserve and thats why the blacks in Augusta are trying to do everything they can to have their "Chocolate City".

intheknow
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intheknow 01/19/07 - 12:43 pm
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I guess it was okay when it

I guess it was okay when it was "VANILLA CITY." Right apex24?

rjay
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rjay 01/19/07 - 01:10 pm
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it always has to be a black

it always has to be a black and white thing

katie
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katie 01/19/07 - 01:21 pm
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Thompson is a sore loser.

Thompson is a sore loser. There is no way they can do that job for $250k less. They are known for low balling and then submitting "change orders" once they start. They will cost just as much as the others.

imdstuf
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imdstuf 01/19/07 - 03:31 pm
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katie must work for the

katie must work for the company who got the bid, know someone in that company or just be someone that does not want to admit there is reverse discrimination going on.

backpac-bill
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backpac-bill 01/19/07 - 03:37 pm
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Thanks Katie,you put the head

Thanks Katie,you put the head on the "NAIL".I wonder how many contracts the Thompson Company have had over pass few years.Let's stop the Black/white talk.

WorriedAboutOurFuture
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WorriedAboutOurFuture 01/19/07 - 03:59 pm
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Aoex24, you're really out of

Aoex24, you're really out of line. Nobody benefits from that kind of sniping and snarkiness. You insult African Americans and you make all non-hyphenated Americans seem like the enemy. How about some mature, civil postings instead of that kind of trash?

JMMGA
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JMMGA 01/19/07 - 06:07 pm
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WOW, worriedaboutourfuture,

WOW, worriedaboutourfuture, hit it right on the head. Why is this city the most racially divided city that I have ever lived in? It is a disgrace. Everything is black and white, why can't grown people just be grown and say, I just don't like you or I just don't agree with you without people saying oh, it's because I'm black or I'm white. I'm black and there are black and white people that I don't like, it's not because of their color it's because of their attitudes and the way they carry themselves. We, as human beings, have got to do and say better, little ones are watching and hearing what we do and say. And another thing Aoex24, chocolate comes in dark, milk, white and swirl. We should all want a chocolate city then shouldn't we.

behonest1
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behonest1 01/19/07 - 11:48 pm
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All I can say is if a bid was

All I can say is if a bid was received for 250,000 less than anyone else the city has an obligation to the taxpayers to use that company. The city could have had the paper work corrected for that kind of money. But this is just another fine example of the city officals not doing the tax payers work, we should not be surprised.....As far as the term African-American. what a stupid term, not one black skined person born in American has any idea what it means to be an African. You are American nothing more nothing less. We don't hear other people born in American call themselfs Asian-American, polish-American, french-American, and how about English-American. Hell I have it lets all just go back to the country of our ancesters, then we don't have to be Americans. No that won't work, Blacks would not be able to cry discrimation anymore, nor could they blame the white race for all their problems anymore. As if any living person today is at fault for slavery, which I add blacks were not the only race inslaved what about the Asians, Jews, and yes even white slaves, black people seem to enjoy calling themself victims.. I hate the term African- American, Your Americans stupid, not Africans.

The Truth
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The Truth 01/20/07 - 12:36 am
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Lets really "behonest" here.

Lets really "behonest" here. If you do not like the term African-American...then stop using it. Our people were forced to identify a term that was less harmful than what we were being called. What was the alternative? Colored, the "N" word, or something else used to negatively categorize us? Most of us "African-Americans" would prefer to be just "Americans."

Your comment,
"Blacks would not be able to cry discrimation anymore, nor could they blame the white race for all their problems anymore..."
is a typical comment from a member of the majority or someone who can identify with the majority. Discrimination is real and exists on all sides of the racial divide. However, even if there are the same percentage of racist whites as there are racist blacks, that would still mean there are way more total white racists than there ar black racists. This means that it is more likely that a black person will be discriminated than a white person.(Assuming we are just talking about these two ethnic groups)
I agree that our Anti-discrimination programs are flawed and sometimes abused and/or misused but before them, there was no chance for equal footing.

toenail
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toenail 01/20/07 - 01:16 am
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Isn't Augusta 65% black? The

Isn't Augusta 65% black? The whites are the minority.

apex24
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apex24 01/20/07 - 01:39 pm
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I understand

I understand "WorriedAboutOurFuture" you probably came down south and are a bleeding heart liberal and no idea what its like to bend over backwards to make sure blacks are not offended. After a while it gets very old!!!

WW1949
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WW1949 01/20/07 - 02:42 pm
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i'm in the roofing, window,

i'm in the roofing, window, gutter and siding contracting business and the lowest responsible business with the right amount of insurance and workforce should get the business regardless of race. no advantage to anyone. that's what is fair when you are dealing with taxpayers money. i do agree that all business should go to companies that pay taxes to richmond county if the bids are close. i work for anyone regardless of their race and treat everyone the same with priceing and quality of products and service. every person is a valuable customer.

what do you bloggers think?

WW1949
22
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WW1949 01/20/07 - 02:48 pm
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By the way, I have used

By the way, I have used Thompson Wrecking Company on several jobs and they have always done the work for the agreed price and have always done a good job. Hiram Thompson is a good and honest businessman and should have gotten the job over an Atlanta Company.

bigbert9980
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bigbert9980 01/20/07 - 06:39 pm
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Augusta is 52% black and 43

Augusta is 52% black and 43 white

WW1949
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WW1949 01/21/07 - 01:57 pm
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So what, Let the contracts go

So what, Let the contracts go with the best qualified with the lowest bid.

katie
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katie 01/22/07 - 02:21 pm
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I do not work for Thomson nor

I do not work for Thomson nor do I know someone who works there. They lost the bid b/c they did not include some key components. Thomson is a very successful company;I'm happy for them. They are costing the city more money by filing this lawsuit. I'll say it again. I find it hard to believe they can do this job for $250k less. Doesn't it seem odd to anyone else that they bid so much less? Come on. They should move on...

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