Las Vegas Sun

July 23, 2014

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Judge halts work on 215 Beltway project

Project could be further delayed at hearing later this month

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Steve Marcus

Parts of the Las Vegas Beltway fall short of freeway standards. The County Commission voted 5-2 on July 21 to award the upgrade project to Las Vegas Paving, whose bid is $4.6 million more expensive than competitor Fisher Sand and Gravel.

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order today against the county and its contractor for the northern 215 Beltway paving project.

Although attorneys for Las Vegas Paving said the contract for the project has been signed, U.S. District Judge Robert Jones ordered that no money exchange hands and said no construction can begin for at least two weeks.

Jones set an evidentiary hearing for Aug. 24, at which time he could issue an injunction, which would again delay construction of converting the existing roadway into a four-lane highway from Tenaya Way to Decatur Boulevard.

County commissioners twice awarded the $116.8 million contract to Las Vegas Paving over the recommendations of county staff and legal counsel. Fisher Sand and Gravel requested the restraining order and claims the commission abused its discretion in awarding the contract to Las Vegas Paving.

Fisher's bid on the project was $4.6 million less than Las Vegas Paving, but commissioners said Fisher was "non-responsible" because three of its former officers were convicted of tax fraud and the company faces allegations of wrongdoing in other states.

Stanley Parry, Fisher's attorney, claims commissioners violated his client's 14th Amendment right to due process by showing "favoritism" to Las Vegas Paving and by not giving Fisher's president time to prepare for the allegations raised during the commission meeting on July 21.

Parry also alleges that commissioners bowed to union pressure because Fisher is a non-union contractor, and Las Vegas Paving uses union workers. Attorney Tom Dillard, who represents the county, said state law allows the commission the discretion to reject lowest bids when it finds the bidder non-responsible. Fisher's President, Tommy Fisher, also acknowledged most of the allegations and was given the opportunity to respond, Dillard said.

Las Vegas Paving's attorney, Wade Gochnour, argued that Fisher never had rights it could lose because the county never awarded the contract to that company.

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