Turner Regains Army Contract After Court Reverses GAO Ruling
Turner Construction Co., New York City, is looking to put $333 million back on its books after it won a bid protest regarding a new 745,000-sq-ft hospital planned for Fort Benning, Ga.
On Aug. 5 the Army Corps of Engineers reinstated the design-build contract, which was terminated in March because of organizational conflict-of-interest charges. The move follows a July 8 federal claims court ruling that agreed with Turner’s appeal of a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) decision against the firm.
The concerns centered on Turner’s design partner Ellerbe Becket, Minneapolis. The firms began pursuing the hospital project in 2008 and were awarded the contract in September 2009. Also competing were the joint ventures of McCarthy/Hunt and Harbert Construction/Brasfield & Gorrie.
During bidding, Ellerbe Becket was negotiating with AECOM Technology Corp. about a possible acquisition. The deal closed in October 2009, weeks after the con-tract award. Turner learned of the agreement only hours before AECOM’s Oct. 26 announcement, says Turner.
Conflict-of-interest concerns arose because another AECOM-owned firm already was contracted on the project. Competitors filed GAO protests, alleging “biased ground rules” and “impaired objectivity.” GAO recommended terminating the Turner contract and awarding a new one. The Corps halted project work and ended the contract. Turner filed a court claim.
Judge Bohdan A. Futey ruled in Turner’s favor and ordered its contract be reinstated. He agreed with Turner that “GAO failed to adhere to the appropriate standard of review.” Sitework was under way when the project halted in February. The hospital was set for a mid-2013 completion; the new date has not been announced.