Despite unsuccessful efforts in two New Jersey courts earlier this month for an emergency stay of a high-priority state road redecking contract awarded to China-linked CCA Civil Inc., rival bidder Conti Enterprises Inc., South Plainfield, N.J., will continue its legal fight, says a firm attorney.
Conti says the award violates a 2012 state law against contracts to firms that the U.S. government says have business ties to Iran, and that CCA Civil did not disclose that a Chinese state-owned firm is a key shareholder.
According to Conti's filings, CCA, a unit of Jersey City-based China Construction America, was not eligible for the $126-million Pulaski Skyway upgrade contract it won on June 26 because both firms' Chinese-government parent owns other firms that do business with Iran.
Conti's argument, opposed by state transportation officials, also did not convince the state Supreme Court nor a Superior Court appellate panel to halt the award or contract execution.
A Conti attorney says the firm seeks an expedited Superior Court review of the case, but there is no date set yet for oral arguments.
Also, in a July 17 letter to the agency, Conti says CCA failed to disclose details on entities that hold 10% or more of its shares. A company attorney has said it "will comply with all contract terms."
A state list says Conti was the next low bidder, at $134.67 million, followed by an E.E. Cruz-Tully Construction team, at $138.33 million; Yonkers Contracting, at $141.11 million; DeFoe Corp., at $143.66 million; a Ferreira-Tutor Perini team, at $151.77 million; Kiska Construction, at $153.84 million; and Schiavone Construction, whose bid amount was not noted.
An executive of another bidder notes CCA's ability to keep distance from its Chinese parent and points to the difficulty of competing with the firm's low bid. CCA "is bidding the job at break-even, at best," he says.
The 80-year-old elevated highway, a key link into Manhattan, needs a deck rehab to meet safety rules.