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Capone addresses AG’s secret asbestos lawsuit

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  Ward 1 Councillor Fred Capone recently raised concerns about the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General’s Office against a “city-hired contractor for alleged illegal and unsafe asbestos work.”

  During the City Council’s October 25 meeting, Capone said the state Department of Environmental Protection issued a Stop Work Order to the contractor on May 18, 2018. “I didn’t find out about it for three years,” he said, adding that the alleged incident took place in his ward. “I don’t understand why we weren’t told.”

  The name of the contractor has not been released as the case is still in litigation.

  In response, Erin Deveney, chief of staff for Mayor Carlo DeMaria, said the city’s residents were never at risk. “Important steps were taken by the city and the state to ascertain whether or not there was any public health issue that would have created a threat to the residents,” said Deveney. “The testing that was done did not reveal that. We’ve cooperated with the appropriate enforcement agencies and continue to do so.”

  Although Capone appreciated Deveney’s explanation, he said the matter could have been discussed earlier in an Executive Session.

  City Solicitor Colleen Mejia said the city was following the direction of the Attorney General’s Office. “There was no cause for any kind of alarm,” she said. “The Attorney General’s Office has instructed the administration not to speak about it.”

  The council voted unanimously to postpone the matter.

Tufts Construction tussles with City, GTA

  In other news, Peter Tufts of Tufts Construction, Inc., said that in May his company was the lowest bidder for work that was needed on a water main. “The city rejected my bid,” said Tufts.

  After appealing the decision, he said, the city offered his company the first phase of the project. The second phase was awarded to GTA Landscaping. Yet, Tufts said, his bid was $254,000 lower than the bid submitted by GTA.

  Tufts also brought the matter to the Attorney General’s Office, where he won a Bid Protest. However, the problem remains unresolved. “As of today, I don’t have my contract that I’ve won,” said Tufts, adding that the project is now more than 700 days behind schedule. “It’s an ongoing battle at this point. Something’s not right; this has gone on for months.”

  However, Deveney said the qualifications of Tufts Construction were called into question regarding the second phase of the project. She also said the Attorney General’s Office has upheld the city’s decision to award the project’s first phase to Tufts and the second phase to GTA.

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