BDC practices attract some scrutiny

For those who aren’t familiar, the Baltimore Development Corporation (also known as the BDC), has been given the job by Baltimore City government to handle the Request For Proposals (RFP) process in the case of The Senator Theatre.
That is, once the city’s winning bid – from their own foreclosure auction – has been ratified. This is expected to happen this coming Friday, September 18, 2009 (barring any objections filed over the auction’s validity).

Apparently, BDC actions (recent and past) have some folks questioning their operations.

“Had we known the City planned to make this land available to any bidder, this would clearly and dramatically affect our appraisal of the location, as it would have for other potential bidders.” [John Cordish of Cordish Co.]

When the city awards land to a private developer it usually goes through a competitive bid process. Frank, the deputy mayor, acknowledged that this deal was “unusual.”

The deal included a payout of at least $3 million from BCEG to Cormony as an incentive for the development firm to bow out of its project [a $250 million “sportsplex”], according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

  • City Gave No-Bid Contract For Slots Site Work – WJZ TV
    Instead of advertising the work, the [BDC] approached a handful of companies and asked them to provide prices to knock down the Maryland Chemical Building on Russell Street…
    [To] pave the way for a proposed $212 million casino near M&T Bank Stadium.

  • City awarded demolition contract at proposed slots site without public bidding – Baltimore Sun
    City Comptroller Joan M. Pratt, who sits on the five-member Board of Estimates panel that approves city contracts, says she believes… “An open process allows for more competitiveness and allows for the City of Baltimore to get better service at the best price.”

    Arnold Jolivet, the managing director of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, criticized the process – even though the… demolition was awarded to an African-American owned firm that he called “well qualified.”

  • BDC cancels demolition contract – Baltimore Sun
    [M. J. “Jay”]Brodie said he consulted with some of his BDC colleagues who believed that the quasi-governmental agency had the authority to go outside the regular city bidding process with demolition contracts, as it does for other types of contracts. “I didn’t question that,” he said. “I don’t know to what degree they checked.”

    Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon announced Tuesday that BDC would no longer award demolition contracts.

Those concerned for the future well-being of The Senator Theatre may well consider these reasons to pay extra attention to the BDC’s handling of theatre’s situation.

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