“County commissioners last week decided to start over on finding a private company to oversee part of a massive $1.35 billion overhaul of DeKalb’s water/sewer system. The reason: one of the firms on a list of finalists was named in search warrants served in January as part of the corruption investigation.
It will be August before a new bid is in. That threatens DeKalb’s ability to meet federal deadlines to cut the number of sewer spills — delays that may drive up the overall price tag for the work and the rates that are paying for it.
“We shouldn’t have to pay more because of (the investigation),” said Matthew Asamagor, a contractor who has lived in DeKalb for 30 years. “I can’t believe they would do that.”
Commissioners said they were concerned that MWH Americas earned top rankings for the management contract.
The Colorado-based company was not the staff recommendation for the work, despite a top score for technical expertise. DeKalb Water Partners got the nod as the lowest bidder at $15 million.
MWH was one of six companies identified by name in search warrants looking for evidence of bid-rigging, bribery and fraud at the homes and offices of DeKalb CEO Burrell Ellis and his former campaign manager, Kevin Ross.
Commissioners had to keep that in mind when considering that the winning firm would oversee $800 million of public money being spent on sewer work, Commission Presiding Officer Lee May said.”