by Margaret Blank.......
Update: The FKAA responded right quick this time. I sent an email Sunday, got a response on Monday. This is new and different. Here’s a link to the agenda back up for the approval of award to Gianetti.
A couple of things prompted me to take a look back at the Big Coppitt project.
- The Big Coppitt wastewater treatment facility experienced difficulties meeting effluent quality requirements for about a year. I discovered this completely by accident. It’s never been reported in the press. As far as I know, it has never been discussed at any Florida Keys Aqueduct (FKAA) board meeting.
- The appointment of Richard Toppino to the FKAA board. Mr. Toppino is an officer in two family businesses that do a significant amount of work for the FKAA. They’ve done $9.5 million worth of work on Big Coppitt and another $12.4 million on Cudjoe Regional. That’s a total of $21.9 million on those two projects alone. You’d never know that from reading the paper though.
Big Coppitt is a very, very peculiar project. For one thing, all bids were rejected in the first round. That in and of itself isn’t so unusual especially if the project comes in over the budgeted amount. What is unusual is that the original bid tabulation was never provided in any agenda back-up. It took a lot of effort and persistence to turn it up. When it finally surfaced, it showed that Charley Toppino & Sons benefited from the rebid – to the tune of $6 million. Not bad.
While the documents indicate that Richard Toppino’s family business was a big winner, there were also some big losers. One of those was Gianetti Construction. Gianetti would have won about $7.8 million worth of work in the first round of bidding. They got nothing in the re-bid. Not a dime. Zero. No protest though. I searched FKAA’s website, searched the records at the Clerk of Court, searched the archives at KeysNews.com, and did a Google search. Nothing. Unless I’m missing something it looks like Gianetti was cool with losing $7.8 million worth of work. That is definitely a weird one.
Things get even stranger though. A new contractor entered the picture on the second round of bidding. ADB was the low bidder on three contracts totaling $9.2 million. Later that year, two of those contracts were terminated for convenience (item DOE-4). They were worth $7.5 million.
At some point Gianetti was awarded a contract worth $8.2 million – presumably to take over ADB’s terminated contracts. This was approved by the FKAA board at the meeting on May 22, 2008. Unfortunately, that particular agenda seems to be missing from FKAA’s website. Meeting minutes prior to July 2010 are not available either. However, the minutes for the May 22 meeting can be found as an attachment to the June 26, 2008 agenda. According to the minutes, the agenda item would have been DOE-3.
Looks like another public records request is in order.