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Council Steps In for MO Airport Subcontractor

Monday, August 24, 2020

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After a dispute erupted around a potential out-of-state subcontractor for Missouri’s $1.5 billion Kansas City International Airport project, the job has been awarded to a different, local contractor after City Council intervened.

According to the Kansas City Star, this is the first time the entity has taken formal action to alter a contract since the project began.

What Happened

At the beginning of the month, a group of local trade groups, unions and subcontractors held a news conference earlier this month to criticize the selection of ESCO Construction Co., of Colorado, to do concrete work for the project. The company was chosen by Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate, the developer, and its general contractor, a joint venture known as Clark Weitz Clarkson.


After a dispute erupted around a potential out-of-state subcontractor for Missouri’s $1.5 billion Kansas City International Airport project, the job has been awarded to a different, local contractor after City Council intervened.

The Heavy Constructors Association of Greater Kansas City called for the city’s Aviation Department to reject Edgemoor’s recommendation of ESCO, which only listed one woman-owned firm in its bid.

This came months after speculation began circulating that the developer wasn’t meeting its women- and minority-owned business quota for the project.

In early November, however, a statement released by the Kansas City Black Chamber demanded a review of contracting procedures and more oversight on the project, claiming that Edgemoor was lying about its numbers for contracts with companies owned by women and minorities.

At that time, there was a discrepancy on how to read the hiring data. The goals in the contract include that 15% of the construction work on the terminal is to go to subcontractors owned by women and 20% is to go to minority-owned firms.

The Chamber said that at the time, Edgemoor’s numbers were deficient; Edgemoor has challenged the Chamber’s math and cites the city’s Human Relations Department.

In November, minority-owned firms up until that point had received $2.1 million for construction services and $4.7 million for professional services. For women, they’ve received a combined $4.8 million.

The Chamber is looking at the contract totals in relation to the total budget for the project, which would put the participation for minority-owned businesses at .32% for construction and 6.4% for professional services and women-owned businesses at .3% and 3.9%, respectively.

Edgemoor’s numbers, however, go by the budget that has been spent so far, not the total, which would then put minority-owned construction services at 19.5% and professional services at 16.9%, and women-owned construction services at 19.5% with professional services at 10.3%.

Edgemoor said at the time that it expected to make up ground on the professional services figures over the next few months of design work.

What Now

After the rally decrying ESCO’s M/WBE participation, City Council voted to reject ESCO’s bid and asked Ideker Inc., of St. Joseph, Missouri, to submit “best and final offers,” according to reports.

From there, Edgemoor-CWC chose Ideker’s final bid, which was reportedly worth about $75 million, though official bids have not been disclosed.

Paul Ideker, owner, said that he made some changes to the scope of the bid so that he could lower the price and that his team would slightly exceed the 20% MBE and 15% WBE goals.

However, ESCO’s owner, Eric Clark, said that his M/WBE participation was well over 48% and questioned the motive for requesting the final offer bids. Lisa Garney, the owner of G2 Construction, which would’ve been a subcontractor of ESCO, agreed.

“City Council voted to do an unprecedented best and final offer after our competitor had already seen our winning bid,” Garney said. “ESCO and G2 submitted what the politicians said they wanted: a lower cost, qualified proposal that included the most transformative M/WBE team in the history of the new KCI project with 48.4% M/WBE.”

Bridgette Williams, executive director of HCA, said that she was happy to see the work go to a local contractor, who is also believed to be more experienced.

“I think what this does is it sends a message that the community is watching and taking seriously the promises that were made when the job was awarded,” she said, restating that the locality of the subcontractor was paramount.


Tagged categories: Airports; Contract awards; Contracts; Good Technical Practice; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Subcontractors; Terminals

Comment from Damian Glaze, (8/24/2020, 3:21 PM)

This project has more twists and turns than any I have followed in the past. I hope it ends up successfully for all stakeholders but appears there will be claims at almost every major milestone of the project. Good luck to all involved.

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