Recall: Barrett Donor Gets No-bid Contract in Milwaukee

Recall: Barrett Donor Gets No-bid Contract in Milwaukee

Two metal-recycling companies are threatening to sue the city of Milwaukee over its controversial awarding of a contract without taking competitive bids.

Two metal recycling firms have accused the City of Milwaukee of illegally shutting them out of bidding for contracts to remove and process abandoned vehicles, work they say has gone exclusively to a third company under illegal contracts.

A lawyer for Mill Valley Recycling and Waukesha Iron & Metal filed a notice of claim Tuesday, saying they will sue if the city doesn’t rescind its ongoing contract with Miller Compressing and offer other companies the opportunity to bid on the work.

Scott Hansen, an attorney with Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren, said in the notice that the city could save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by accepting competitive bids from his clients and others.

According to the notice of claim, state law and Milwaukee ordinances require that all contracts for services in excess of $25,000 be subject to competitive bidding unless the commissioner of public works determines the work can be done better and more cheaply without a formal contract.

The company, Miller Compressing, originally won the contract through a competitive bidding process, but for the last decade or so, the contract has simply been quietly ‘extended’ with no other companies invited to submit bids. The contract was most recently “extended” at the end of 2009, right around the time Milwaukee Major Tom Barrett was preparing for his 2010 campaign for Governor, which he lost to Scott Walker.

The City of Milwaukee has allegedly offered multiple “illegal” no-bid contracts to Miller Compression Co during Tom Barrett’s tenure as mayor, and his patronage did not go unnoticed. In 2010, Tom Barrett accepted $10,500 in campaign contributions from Miller Compression Co. immediately after the company was awarded another no-bid contract with the city in 2009.

No word on whether the other companies were offered a chance to “bid” on campaign donations.