Des Moines must pay nearly $1M to company it blacklisted
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Des Moines has been ordered to pay nearly $1 million in damages to a construction company it blacklisted after the company failed to complete a bridge reconstruction project on time.
The order came in a jury ruling last week in a lawsuit filed by Jenco Construction Inc., which is based in Des Moines.
City officials will discuss their next course of action, said Des Moines City Attorney Jeff Lester.
The city argued that Jenco didn’t finish the $3.3 million reconstruction of the Grand Avenue bridge on time in 2013, and failed to deliver quality work. The bridge’s opening was delayed by more than two months before opening in December 2013.
The city then barred Jenco in March 2015 from bidding on city projects for three years, The Des Moines Register reported.
“It’s something that’s obviously not taken very lightly,” City Engineer Pam Cooksey told the newspaper at the time. “It’s kind of a final step.”
Jenco sued the city in May 2015, challenging the city’s complaints. The company argued that its crews encountered boulders, concrete, debris and tree stumps that nobody knew about, along with asbestos. Construction also paused about a month before the scheduled opening to allow for a state archaeologist to investigate a potential archaeological discovery.
The bridge was closed for 10 months. Area businesses complained about losing customers, while homeowners complained about motorists taking detours on residential streets.
Jenco was only the second company to be blacklisted by the city in the past two decades.
This story has been corrected to show that Jenco was banned from bidding on city projects in March 2015, not December 2015.
Information from: The Des Moines Register, http://www.desmoinesregister.com