Bid Ridding Alleged in Houston Schools

     HOUSTON (CN) – The Houston Independent School District illegally tipped off a company and asked it to reduce its bid after bidding had closed, throwing it the $3.75 million contract, a rival claims in Harris County Court.

     Schoenmann Produce claims that bids had closed for the contract to supply HISD with produce for the coming school year, when the district told Third Coast Produce to reduce its delivery price to secure the contract.
     Schoenmann had had the contract for years and said it was surprised when Third Coast was awarded next year’s contract.
     “Schoenmann, in an effort to better understand how it should bid differently next year to hopefully be the successful bidder in the future, contacted HISD and requested information on the bid, including a full copy of Third Coast’s bid,” according to the complaint.
     Through the documents HISD provided it, Schoenmann says, it discovered that “HISD had in fact allowed Third Coast to materially modify its bid, after the bids were closed, and the sealed bids publicly opened.”
     At the district’s request, Third Coast lowered its delivery charge from $42 to $39, Schoenmann says.
     “The modified regular delivery charge was $1 less per delivery than the regular delivery charge submitted by Schoenmann under its bid. Schoenmann did not have the option of changing its delivery charges as Third Coast did,” it claims.
     Schoenmann wants a temporary restraining order to stop HISD’s scheduled Aug. 1, 2009 transition to Third Coast as their produce supplier, and it wants to keep the contract until the case is heard and decided.
     Schoenmann is represented by Michelle Bohreer.

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