Recall, during the January BPCA board meet, a bit of kabuki theater played out when the Chairman/CEO Dennis Mehiel pretended to be surprised and appalled by the high cost of the proposed construction work for office space to be built inside 200 Rector Place. This space was leased by the BPCA from the Milstein building in 2015 shortly after BPTV’s federal lawsuit was filed against the BPCA and Milstein. No progress was made over the next 18-months, supporting claims by sources close to the BPCA that the space was utterly unnecessary. Briefs filed in the federal lawsuit charged that the entire scheme was nothing but a way to funnel money to Milstein to offset the legal fees for the federal lawsuit.
There was no BPCA board meeting last month, so today’s meeting was the first time that the board has reconvened to discuss this RFP construction contract that was tabled for further discussion.
During today’s meeting, Chairman Mehiel continued to show concern over the high costs, but voted to approve the contract, nevertheless.
Board member and construction expert Donald Cappocia pointed out that the INNISS construction company, which won the RFP, was paying their employees 20% more than the going wage despite not even being a union contractor. The board was unclear whether this project had been designated as a “public works” project.
Board member Lester Petracca remarked that it was stunning how numerous other RFP bidders for this project also had inflated wage rates comparable to INNISS. He joked that they were “all playing cards together”.
Some of the financial details reveled about this approved construction contract were:
- The cost to build the interior of the “vanilla envelope” will be $547 per square foot.
- The rent will be $16,000 per month, or $192,000. That equates to $70 per square foot.
President Shari Hyman and director of construction Gwen Dawson both claimed that this new space was cheaper and better than the old PEP offices on 21 West Thames, that are now shut down. However, they used non sequitur logic, since the PEP forces have been fired and there no longer needs to be such a space at all.
The entire BPCA staff seemed to be misinformed and inept on this RFP. They even misspelled the name of the street for this project, again, after making the same mistake last time. They called it Rector Street, when it is Rector Place.
Meanwhile, the judges overseeing the federal lawsuit have not allowed BPTV to get any of the documents detailing this boondoggle. So, it seems that more state officials will get off Scot-free with what could be a money laundering or RICO scheme.