Judge Stops Las Vegas Beltway Paving Project

Wed August 12, 2009 - West Edition

LAS VEGAS (AP) A federal judge on Aug. 5 issued a temporary restraining order over the Las Vegas Beltway paving project.

U.S. District Judge Robert Jones ordered that no money exchange hands and no construction begin for at least two weeks.

North Dakota contractor Fisher Sand and Gravel requested the temporary restraining order. The company argued the Clark County Commission abused its discretion by awarding the contract to Las Vegas Paving.

Clark County commissioners have twice awarded a $117 million contract to Las Vegas Paving, even though Fisher bid about $112 million.

Las Vegas Paving earlier this year challenged Fisher’s eligibility, saying at least two of its subcontractors didn’t have proper licensing. The commission rejected Fisher in April.

A judge ordered the commission to reconsider Fisher’s bid. On July 21, Fisher was rejected again, with one commissioner citing pollution and job safety violations and tax problems.

But Fisher attorney Stanley Parry said commissioners violated the company’s right to due process by showing favoritism to Las Vegas Paving.

Las Vegas Paving’s attorney, Wade Gochnour, counters that Fisher didn’t have rights it could lose because it was never awarded the contract. And state law allows the commission the discretion to reject lowest bids if it finds that the bidder is “non-responsible,” said attorney Tom Dillard, who represents the county.

Jones has set a hearing for Aug. 24.