Not in Westchester County?
September 18, 2019Cart

Business

by Westchester County Business Journal
by WCBJ

Contractor sues Sleepy Hollow officials in alleged bid rigging

A Sleepy Hollow contractor has sued the village and its local development agency for $835,000, claiming that construction contracts were rigged.

Karl Dibble sued the Sleepy Hollow Local Development Corp., past and current village officials and others connected to alleged schemes on Feb. 3 in Westchester Supreme Court.

Public officials and influential people used the development agency, he states in the complaint, “as a political and economic weapon, to reward those who cooperated with, were friendly with or were economically connected with the public officials of the Village of Sleepy Hollow.”

An attorney for the development agency put Dibble on notice last year, after the contractor complained to the village board of trustees.

The agency, David Rothman of Harris Beach PLLC said in a July 17, letter, “is prepared to take all action necessary to address your behavior, enforce its legal rights, and protect its business interests should you continue to make such disparaging and / or defamatory statements.”

The village established the development agency in 2014 to take title to a 29-acre site that had been a parking lot at a former General Motors assembly plant. The site, next to the Metro-North Railroad tracks, is known as the East Parcel, and the agency has been working on plans to build a public works facility and a park there.

Dibble traces his troubles to April 2017, when, he claims, he got into an argument with resident James McGovern.

A concept drawing of the East Parcel.

The complaint gives no details about the alleged argument. But Dibble claims McGovern threatened him and later asked John Leavy, a village trustee, and David Schroedel, a former trustee, chairman of the development agency and then a consultant for the agency, to stop awarding contracts to his companies.

At that point, Dibble claims, Karl Dibble Inc. and his River Rock Supply Corp. stopped getting village contracts.

“Mr. Dibble’s frivolous lawsuit is without merit,” Schroedel said in an email, “and filled with false and defamatory statements.”

Attempts to reach McGovern and Leavy, for their versions of events, failed.

A month after the alleged argument, Dibble submitted a bid to stockpile fill on the East Parcel. His bid included options for one or two equipment operators, costing $1,125 or $2,250 per day.

He claims that Schroedel passed his information to Andrew Cortese, who then submitted a bid with no detail about the number of operators and priced $50 less than Dibble’s two-operator option.

Cortese Construction of Dobbs Ferry received the contract.

Cortese did not respond to an email asking for a response.

In October 2017, the development agency issued a request for proposals for fill management services for the East Parcel. This time, the complaint states, a hard deadline was set and proposals were time-stamped.

Dibble said he submitted a proposal about 15 minutes before the deadline, and his was the only bid so far. As he waited in the village hall, his complaint states, an agency employee left the building with his proposal and got into a car with a Cortese Construction employee.

Five minutes after the bid deadline, he alleges, the Cortese employee entered the building and handed an envelope to Village Administrator Anthony Giaccio.

Dibble said he protested, and although he submitted the only legitimate bid, no contract was awarded to anyone.

Giaccio declined to comment on behalf of himself or the village, because they had not been officially served with the lawsuit.

Dibble also accuses village officials of interfering with his work for another contractor and for a private client.

The complaint charges the village, public officials and others with interference with contracts, bid rigging and breach of contract.