Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dredging Issue Now A "Boxing" Match

As reported yesterday federal agents removed boxes of interested material regarding an investigation into the bid award for the removal of dredge material at Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania. In this Times Leader story by Terrie Morgan-Besecker, Steve Mocarsky, and Jerry Lynott details emerged that the question at hand concerns bids made by Barry Bowen as Bowen Enterprises and Fort Mifflin Reclammation Associates Inc(FMRAI) on July 25, 2006 for a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project hauling dredge material away from its storage place.

According to the federal government contract site contract W912BU06C0024 was prepared on September 20, 2006 in the amount of $21 million dollars to FMRAI.

To get to the crux of the story this summation in the Times Leader tells it all.

Bowen was the site manager for the Hazleton Creek Properties project as of December 2006. His withdrawal from the dredging project meant that companies connected to (Marvin L.) Slomowitz got both the contract to transport the sludge and to develop the site at which it was being deposited.

A second source, who also requested anonymity, said Bowen’s relationship with Hazleton Creek Properties, coupled with Bowen’s withdrawal from the bidding process, led a person to contact federal authorities to request an investigation into possible collusion.

A simple call by any competent person would ellicit from a Corps spokesperson that the REASON Bowen withdraw was his inability to secure bonding for the project. That fact brings SOP to the conclusion that the person who had possible collusion concerns really didn't do any homework whatsoever. SOP won't publish the phone number at the U.S. Army Philadelphia office called to obtain the information but it was a simple Google search to obtain it. There were four bids submitted through the internet on the project.

There are political hand and footprints all over this story. Hazleton Creek Properties is the entity doing business with the City of Hazleton, not Fort Mifflin Reclammation Associates, Inc. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers bid process was separate from the contract with the City of Hazleton. What went on, if anything, in Philadelphia has no connection to the City of Hazleton efforts to clean up abandoned mine lands withing its boundaries.

The site where Hazleton Creek Properties has been hauling the dredge to in Hazleton is inspected 60 times a year due to objections by an organization with a handful of members. A landfill is only inspected 12 times per year. There are GPS systems as well as monitor wells in place at the site to track the movement and possible contamination, none of which is required at the Palmerton Zinc Plant site. Due to its high profile nature Mr. William Rinaldi, manader of Hazleton Creek Properties, has been subjected to constant scrutiny bordering on harrassment over cleaning up the landscape.

This contract was awarded in 2006. The "concerned citizen" with possible collusion concerns waited until 2010 to bring up the bid process during a hotly contested race. Barry Bowen was point man with Hazleton Creek Properties since the beginning and it took until now to make a connection! With all the media attention this project received for the last five years believability that it only came to light is total hogwash. It wouldn't surprise SOP if those footprints traveled from Nanticoke to Washington. It seems someone waited until a Democratic President took office and the next election year before calling the authorities.

In is important to make the disclaimer that no one has been arrested or charged in this matter. As Ray Musto said “I’ve stepped on a lot of big toes over the years."

Agents actions yesterday give a new meaning to "boxing".


Information has been received by SOP from the federal government regarding the awarding of contract for titled "Renewal Capacity, Fort Mifflin Disposal Area, Philadelphia, PA". The bids were as follows:

Barbella Construction Services, LLC Somerville N.J. Base Bid $28,000,000.00 Total Base Plus Option $46,600,000.00

Fort Mifflin Reclammation Associates Kingston, PA. Base Bid $21,000.000 Total Base Plus Option $33,600,000.00

Bowen Excavating, Scranton, PA. Base Bid $19,250,000 Total Base Bid Plus Option $30,800,000

A.P. Construction Inc. Philadelphia, PA. Base Bid $23,875.00 Total Base Bid Plus Option $38,575,000

The bids were opened by Joseph Bujnowski on August 24, 2006 at 11:00 A.M. The government estimate for the contract was $19,525,000.00. Total Base Plus Option estimate $31,018,000.00

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