Construction workers say they’re being cheated out of a chance to work on the $54 million Millennium Hotel project in Downtown.
That’s because The Port voted unanimously to skip the bidding process and award the project to a large popular contractor, even though a government entity is required to bid out big projects.
The African American Chamber calls it unfair. But The Port is calling this an urgency situation, so it says it doesn’t have to follow bidding rules.
“You’re allowed to bid on work if it’s over a certain size, and it didn’t happen in this particular instance. Why is that?” said Eric Kearney, president of the African American Chamber of Greater Cincinnati-Northern, Kentucky.
Kearney said this affects five minority-owned businesses he works with. Kearney said they didn’t want to talk on camera because they fear complaining could hurt their chances of getting future jobs.
“My members said, ‘We want a chance, we want our turn at bat,'” Kearney said. “We’d like to have an opportunity to bid on the work and to understand what the project is.
“Maybe their bid will be good, maybe their bid won’t be good, but they should at least be given the opportunity to bid on the work,” Kearney said.
The Port voted this week to allow its president, Laura Brunner, to enter into a contract with Turner Construction to demolish the closed hotel and build whatever replaces it.
A spokesperson told WCPO 9 News that bidding wasn’t required because this was an emergency, the building is unsafe, and it costs $100,000 a month in utilities.
Brunner said the contract has not been signed yet, and no date for starting the work has been set.
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