A federal judge has denied a temporary restraining order that would have prevented the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners from moving forward on a $25 million school construction project.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett denied on Thursday the request made by CAM Construction Co. Inc. when it was learned that the disputed building project contract would not go into effect until Sept. 22. A hearing on a preliminary injunction in the case was set for Sept. 8.
CAM Construction filed the lawsuit in Baltimore on Wednesday, alleging reverse discrimination in the board’s selection of a construction contractor to build a new Waverly Elementary School. CAM Construction put in a bid of $25.49 million on the project, but despite coming in $285,000 lower than the next highest bidder, the Timonium-based company claims it was passed over because it had not yet met the goal levels of minority business enterprise, or MBE. CAM Construction is alleging that being passed over for the bid was a violation of Constitutional and federal civil rights laws.
In its lawsuit, CAM Construction said it had not reached the 37 percent MBE involvement goal when bids were due in June and had requested a waiver until the goal could be met. The school board refused to grant a waiver and instead awarded the contract to the second highest bidder, Baltimore-based Roy Kirby & Sons Inc., which had already met the goal.
M. Marc Munafo, president of CAM Construction, said the company should have been granted a waiver under the state’s MBE laws since it had demonstrated a good faith effort to meet the goals. He said CAM Construction has since lined up minority and women involvement above goal levels.