JMI Edison sues Guam airport, OPA over baggage service procurement
By Mar-Vic Cagurangan
JMI Edison sued the Guam International Airport Authority on Monday, seeking nullification of the agency's award of the bid for baggage management services to a company that was alleged to be unlicensed.
The Office of Public Accountability was named co-defendant, along with Menzies Aviation, the selected bidder.
JMI filed the civil action with the Superior Court following the OPA's dismissal of the company's procurement appeal against GIAA's award of the contract to Menzies.
"The OPA sanction of dismissal was improper, in that it was arbitrary, capricious, clearly erroneous, and contrary to law by being issued without notice and a meaningful opportunity for JMI to respond to the sanction," JMI stated in the complaint.
Without addressing the merits of the license issue, Public Auditor Benjamin Cruz tossed out JMI's appeal, rebuking the company for allegedly using its "social connection" with the Guam Contractors' License Board to obtain a decision declaring that Menzies did not have a proper license.
Cruz gave a verbal ruling on Jan. 27, dismissing JMI's protest as form of sanction.
"No evidence was taken regarding those findings,and no opportunity for briefing the propriety of the sanction was provided," JMI said.
"The OPA, in issuing its sanction, incorrectly determined that the concurrence of four members of the CLB is necessary 'for the validity of any of its actions.'"
JMI argued against the OPA's assumption of how the CLB process worked. "The OPA incorrectly made no distinction between actions by the executive director or CLB staff in determining whether or not an entity is properly licensed, versus administrative hearings before the CLB regarding the issuance of CLB sanctions," JMI said.
JMI said its president Ed Ilao was compelled to approach CLB to inquire about Menziez' licensing status due to the airport authority's failure to respond to its Sunshine Act request for procurement records.
"That request was submitted to the CLB on Sept. 13, 2021," JMI said. "In addition to his formal inquiry, Mr. Ilao lodged a complaint with the CLB about the license status of Menzies, and Menzies's work without a license."
JMI is asking the court to void GIAA's selection of Menzies to provide management & infrastructure support services to baggage conveyance systems.
"GIAA must disqualify Menzies from eligibility for award under the (request for proposal, as Menzies's does not have a valid contractor's license and as such, its proposalwas non-responsive to the RFP," JMI said.
The lawsuit is asking that the case be remanded to the OPA.