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Parties settling Waverly school-bid litigation

The Timonium contractor that sued the Baltimore City school board for reverse discrimination after an unsuccessful bid to build the new Waverly Elementary School has dropped the lawsuit and says it will be awarded the project.

CAM Construction Co. Inc. sued the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners in August after it lost a $25 million school construction project despite being the low bidder. The case was dropped in September, with the right to reopen it, pending a settlement. That settlement fell through and the parties were scheduled to have a hearing last Friday.

In court documents, CAM Construction and counsel for the school board now say a final settlement has been reached and ask that the case be dropped completely.

The terms of the agreement were not released, but CAM Construction said it was awarded the contract to build the new school under the terms of its original bid.

“There was some extensive negotiations going on between September and now,” said Charles S. Fax, an attorney with Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver LLC, who represented CAM. “And, the contract has, or will be awarded to CAM.”

In an emailed statement, a spokeswoman for the Baltimore City Public School System said there are still details that must be worked out concerning a final agreement. Calls to counsel for the Board of School Commissioners were not returned.

CAM Construction filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore on Aug. 24, claiming reverse discrimination in the board’s decision to go with another contractor. CAM Construction bid $25.49 million on the project, $285,000 lower than the next highest bidder. The company claimed it was passed over because it had not met the goal levels for including minority business enterprises, or MBE.

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 declined to grant a waiver and awarded the contract to the second highest bidder, Baltimore-based Roy Kirby & Sons Inc., which had met the MBE involvement goal.

Roy Kirby & Sons had petitioned for leave to intervene in the CAM lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Richard D. Bennett never ruled on the motion and the company’s appeal to the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was subsequently dropped.

Steven A. Thomas with Thomas & Libowitz P.A. in Baltimore, who represented Roy Kirby & Sons, said the company had no plans right now to appeal the decision. He said the terms of the agreement were confidential but the company felt it was best for the school, the students and the community to let the project move forward.

“It was in everyone’s best interest to either rebid the project or come to an agreement with all the parties,” Thomas said. “Otherwise, it would have added another 24 months or so to the project.”