Judge wont reconsider dismissal of Charleston airport contract lawsuit
A judge will not reconsider her decision to dismiss a lawsuit that could have disrupted the planned multi-million-dollar overhaul of Charleston International Airport.
Circuit Judge Stephanie McDonald has denied a Dec. 7 request to reconsider her earlier ruling to toss out a lawsuit filed by the second runner-up bidder for the more than $161 million construction contract to redevelop the airport’s 27-year-old terminal.
Holder Construction Co. and its local partners sued the Charleston County Aviation Authority and winning bidder Austin Commercial LP of Dallas and its local partner, Hitt Contracting Inc., in August, alleging, among other things, it was the higher-ranked bidder and a former airport board member’s business ties to the Austin-Hitt team tainted the selection process.
The judge ruled that the joint venture that comprised the Holder team was dissolved when the head of one of the three firms aligned with Atlanta-based Holder did not want to challenge the way the construction management contract was awarded.
The Holder team originally included Mashburn Construction Co., CCCS International and Cumming Corp.
In an Aug. 23 letter, CCCS CEO Calvin Whitfield said his company wanted no part in the protest.
The Holder team’s attorney argued in seeking reconsideration that Whitfield could not dissolve the joint venture by himself and that CCCS remained a part of the team even though it withdrew from the protest.
The judge disagreed.
“Even if the court were to agree with the plaintiff’s reasoning, the joint venture no longer exists and any rescission of Austin-Hitt’s contract and award to the (Holder) joint venture would be an invalid effort to award a contract to a nullified entity,” McDonald wrote in her order.
Holder attorney Nick Nicholson said his client has not decided whether to appeal the decision to a higher court. “We are reassessing where we are.”
They have until Jan. 13 to file an appeal.
Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or twitter.com/warrenlancewise.