Subscribe for 17¢ / day

Editor's note: The  following is  a transcript of a letter sent by Denny Rehberg to the inspector general of the General Services Administration, Brian Miller.


Dear Mr. Miller:

I am writing in regard to yet another troubling development related to the General Services Administration's (GSA) decision to construct a new U.S. Courthouse in Billings, Montana.  As I stated in my letter to you last May, I was very disturbed to learn the GSA had decided to dedicate $80 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds for the purchase of land in downtown Billings and the construction of a new courthouse facility.  Such action clearly disregarded the original Congressionally-approved leasing agreement for a new privately-owned facility at a cost of $35 million. It has now come to my attention that the General Services Administration has awarded the contract for the construction of the new courthouse in Billings to a firm located in Bellevue, Washington at a cost to taxpayers of $59.4 million.

As Montana's Congressman, I am deeply concerned by the General Services Administration's blatant disregard for the Montana firms that spent countless hours and resources on qualified bids for this project.  It is disturbing that Montana stimulus funds are being spent by the millions in the State of Washington.  To make this decision even more egregious, the winning contract also came in more than eight million dollars higher than the Montana based bids.  This decision not only hurts our local contractors, but also the taxpayers of Montana and America.

I respectfully submit the following questions related to the bid process for the construction of the U.S. Courthouse in Billings, Montana.

1.  Based upon what criteria did the winning bid outscore the other applicants?

2.      What weight is given to total bid cost in the award process?

3.      Did any representatives from the Selection Committee or Peer Review Committee visit the site?

4.      Were all the groups fully aware of the selection criteria?

5.      Were there any discussions or feedback given to the bidders?

6.      Was the price awarded to the selected contractor the submitted price or did negotiations take place prior to final award?

7.      What steps were taken by the GSA to protect not only the public interest, but also taxpayer dollars?

In addition to timely answers to these questions, I would also like a copy of the scoring documentation for my review.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.