State doesn’t approve rest stop maintenance contract

ANNAPOLIS — The Board of Public Works Wednesday declined to approve a $4.8 million state contract for rest stop maintenance instead of awarding it to the winning bidder.

Department of Transportation Secretary Beverley K. Swaim-Staley said a rebid of the contract was “the intent.”

The board denied H.D. Myles Inc. a project to maintain two Howard County rest areas along Interstate 95 because it was not a corporation when filing its bid, despite indicating so on an accompanying affidavit. The board rejected the advice of its general counsel, who said that H.D. Myles was eligible for the contract because it has since become incorporated.

Comptroller Peter Franchot said it wasn’t enough.

“The troubling issue here is the person applying lied on the affidavit,” he said.

Michael Lesniowski of Church Hill signed the affidavit with the bid, asserting that H.D. Myles was a corporation and that he was the president. He said he followed the same procedure in previous business ventures under the guidance of the State Highway Administration.

Lesniowski declined to comment further.

Gov. Martin O’Malley and Treasurer Nancy Kopp wouldn’t accuse Lesniowski of lying. But O’Malley did question why he didn’t note on the affidavit that the company was not yet a corporation.

O’Malley suggested the forms be changed so groups intending to become incorporated can indicate that, thus avoiding similar issues in the future.

If there is a rebid, H.D. Myles can take part, but Robert Gay from the Office of Consultant Services with the highway administration said it would require the project be altered, because contractors already know what bids to expect from competitors.

He couldn’t guess as to when a rebid would be confirmed.

“It’s going to have to happen soon. We need the services out there,” Gay said.