Thereâ€™s a major new development in the case of an Oklahoma road contractor who's locked in a legal fight with the state. It's an update to a News On 6 investigation we brought you last month. News On 6 anchor Terry Hood reports now the federal government is taking sides in a dispute between Muskogee's Glover Construction Company, and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
"ODOT has to follow the law, they don't get to simply say he can no longer be a bidder without following their processes, which Mr. Glover alleges they've done," said Richard Oâ€™Carroll attorney for George Paul Glover.
Attorneys for George Paul Glover have been fighting for more than a year to keep the state from kicking him out of the bidding process. But now the U.S. government has suspended him from bidding on all federal projects.
A stretch of U.S. Highway 64 in the town of Warner is what's causing Glover Construction Company so much grief. No one disputes that it started falling apart even before Glover finished building it, but there's a huge dispute over why. Glover blames the state's own design, and claims the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is retaliating by trying to kick him out of the bidding process. The state says Glover tried to save money on the job by using substandard gravel from his own quarry.
In a letter dated last week, the Federal Highway Administration informed Glover it wants to make the ban permanent, a move called debarment. The letter cites Glover's no contest pleas to charges of defrauding the state on a highway project in Muskogee County, and intimidating a grand jury witness. The letter goes even further mentioning that Glover pleaded guilty to a bid rigging charge back in 1984, a plea that led to Glover being debarred for more than a year back then.
ODOT says the move by the federal government won't have much of an effect on its fight to permanently ban Glover from bidding on state projects. It's a fight ODOT vows to win.
"I think the public needs to understand that this is a very complicated process, that just calling a contractor difficult or uncooperative isn't grounds for debarment," ODOT spokeswoman Terri Angier said.
A Muskogee judge ruled Glover has a right to keep bidding on state projects, even as ODOT works to get him debarred. Glover has also filed a federal lawsuit against ODOT, claiming it violated his civil rights by trying to deprive him of his livelihood. Both cases could take years to resolve.
Watch the video: Glover Construction Banned From Federal Projects
11/30/2006 State Transportation Officials Say They're Following Grand Jury's Guidelines
12/14/2006 Muskogee County Construction Company Suing The Oklahoma Department Of Transportation
5/3/2007 News On 6 Investigates: Highway Dollars
5/4/2007 ODOT Accused Of Violating Contractors Civil Rights