The New York Foundation for Fair Contracting (“NYFFC”) appreciates the Erie County Legislature’s decision to table yesterday’s Economic Development Committee vote on awarding the Lake Avenue Reconstruction Project contract to Zoladz Construction.
The NYFFC filed a bid protest with Erie County questioning the responsibility of Zoladz Construction. In 2017, Zoladz settled a case with the US Department of Justice concerning allegations that Zoladz falsely presented itself as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Company in order to obtain an advantage on federal contracts. Zoladz agreed to a pay $3 million fine as part of that settlement agreement.
Zoladz also has a troubling safety record. In the past three years, two workers lost their lives in Zoladz workplace accidents. In a case that just closed in April 2019, OSHA fined Zoladz over $40,000 for serious violations in relation to the 2018 fatality. OSHA considers a violation to be serious “when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm.”
The NYFFC recognizes Erie County’s ongoing efforts to promote responsible contracting and is encouraged by the decision to further investigate the serious issues concerning Zoladz Construction.
In light of Zoladz Construction’s recent history, the NYFFC considers the contractor an irresponsible contractor. Both State and County law permits the County to award public contracts to the lowest responsible bidder. The NYFFC urges the County to find Zoladz an irresponsible contractor and to award the Lake Ave. Reconstruction Project to the next lowest, responsible bidder.
The NYFFC is a non-profit fair contracting organization committed to leveling the playing field in public works construction.