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TRUMBULL COUNTY Commissioners advised to turn down bid



Published: Thu, May 30, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Sugar said the missing paperwork was an error.

By STEPHEN SIFF

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

WARREN -- Felony convictions for perjury, witness tampering and obstruction of justice could have cost A. David Sugar a $279,000 contract to dig water and sewer lines in Hubbard.

Instead, some missing paperwork will keep the contractor from getting the work if Trumbull County commissioners follow their lawyer's advice.

The office manager of Sugar's New Middletown company, Excavation Technologies Inc., forgot to staple some paperwork detailing last-minute project changes to the company's bid offer, says Lynn, Kittinger & amp; Noble, the engineering company handling the county project.

"It is a technicality, yes," said Commissioner Michael O'Brien. "However, we have to follow the bid process."

Because of the forgotten paperwork, the company's bid "must be rejected" by the commissioners, says a legal opinion by James J. Misocky, first assistant county prosecutor.

Two of the nine companies bidding for the project made the same mistake, Misocky said. The project is a component of developing a Flying J. Travel Plaza off Interstate 80.

Criminal activities

Sugar's bid was $20,500 less than any of the other companies, but the commissioners said they opposed giving him the contract because of his criminal activities, which came to light in the trial of U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. of Poland, D-17th.

O'Brien said he would still like to get a legal opinion if the commissioners have the right to reject a bid because of a contractor's criminal background.

"My overall position is that I don't think someone convicted of bribing public officials should be permitted to bid on a public project," the commissioner said.

According to the engineering firm's report to commissioners, Sugar said his company did intend to follow the revisions set out in the missing paperwork, and the cost had been factored into the company's bid.

The second-lowest bid was from Granite Construction Inc. of North Lima.

Sugar also told the firm that recent events surrounding the Traficant trial would not affect the project, the report says.

Sugar faces a fine and 18 to 24 months in prison on convictions of obstruction of justice, perjury and witness tampering.

siff@vindy.com




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