New jail contract cleared by court

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / March 4, 2000

HAHNVILLE – St. Charles Parish’s new 590-bed correctional center will beginconstruction in a matter of days, following court action this week favoring Sheriff Greg C. Champagne.Champagne opened six construction bids submitted on Feb. 16 and laterawarded the contract to the lowest bidder, Roy Anderson Corp. of Gulfport,Miss. His winning bid was $13,149,500.However, the third-lowest bidder, Brice Construction of Metairie, claimed Anderson did not submit all the proper corporate documentation in its bid package and challenged the contract award.

Attorneys for Brice obtained a temporary restraining order against Champagne and Anderson to keep them from signing the contract until the matter could be reviewed by 29th Judicial District Judge Kirk Granier.

The second-lowest bidder, Woodrow Wilson Construction, filed papers as an intervenor, or interested party siding with Anderson’s legal position.

As Champagne explained prior to the hearing, Wilson was in line for the job should Anderson be disallowed by the judge.

Wilson’s bid was $13,409,000, and Brice’s bid was $13,611,500. Champagnesaid the matter is important since the half-million dollar difference could delay construction.

Champagne added the new correctional center, to be located on Louisiana Highway 3127 near Killona, will be paid for through a 20-year bond issue repaid by housing fees received for housing state Department of Corrections prisoners.

That financing would generate $11.5 million and would be joined by $4 millionfrom St. Charles Parish out of Capital Outlay funds, he added.Brice claimed, through attorney Dan Lund III, that Anderson failed to submit proper corporate authority papers to testify that Anderson’s executive vice-president, Steven Brooks, was entitled to sign the contract.

This corporate resolution gives authority to a corporate officer to sign a contract on behalf of the corporation. Such document was absent from bothAnderson and Wilson’s bid packages but included in Brice’s package.

In addition, Lund said financial statements submitted for Roy Anderson Corp.

were actually for Roy Anderson Holding Corp. and did not apply to thiscontract.

Granier heard testimony from Roy Anderson III, president of the construction company, from architect Stephen Gossen as to the timing of the events leading to the contract award, from project manager Maj. Sam Zinna andfrom Champagne.

Granier ruled that since Anderson’s construction company is a subsidiary of his holding company and the holding company’s financial statement included subsidiaries, it was admissible.

In addition, Granier ruled the sheriff was sufficiently satisfied as to Anderson’s corporate officers and that all proper procedure was followed, allowing the project to move forward.

Champagne was represented by attorney Don Almerico, and Anderson was represented by Richard Tyler.

Return To News Stories