Civil lawsuit puts temporary stop to Stobtown Road repair project

Sierra Rains
A barricade blocks the right side of Stobtown Road, where construction has been halted due to a civil lawsuit.

A civil dispute between a local construction company and the Carter County Board of Commissioners has temporarily put a stop to a road repair project in northwestern Ardmore. 

According to Carter County court documents, the Overland Corporation filed a civil lawsuit against the commissioners on Sep. 28, claiming that the company had been damaged as a result of a violation of the Public Competitive Bidding Act of 1974. 

Court documents state that the Carter County Commissioners opened bids for the “Stobtown Road Repair Project” at a meeting on Sept. 14. The project was reportedly designed to fix damage to the road caused by a ruptured water line. 

The documents claim that the process to award bids for road repairs in Carter County is subject to the Public Competitive Bidding Act of 1974.

The act requires contracts exceeding $50,0000 to be awarded to the lowest bidder. If an award is made to a company that is not the lowest bidder, the public agency is required to make a publicized statement giving a reason for its action. 

According to court documents, on the following Monday, Sept. 21, the Carter County Commissioners awarded the bid to Pavers, Inc. for $188,211.50. Overland claims that it’s bid was approximately $24,000 less, at a total of $164,372.80. 

In the lawsuit, the company alleges that the commissioners failed to provide any publicized statement for their reason in choosing Pavers, Inc. over the lowest bidder. However, attorneys for the Carter County Commissioners claim that a statement was made. 

The Overland Corporation's attorneys argue that there was bias in the decision, and that the company the bid was awarded to is not an active entity licensed to perform business within the State of Oklahoma. 

An open records request reportedly revealed that the commissioner's chairman, Bill Baker, made numerous asphalt purchases with Pavers, Inc. from 2017 to Sept. 2020. The Overland Corporation claims that it routinely provided quotes to Commissioner Baker for the asphalt at a lower price. 

During the Carter County Commissioner’s Sept. 21 meeting, Commissioner Baker allegedly stated that the Overland Corporation’s workmanship on a previous project was not adequate and “insisted the commissioners vote to award the Stobtown Project to Pavers," according to court documents. 

However, Overland claims that the previous project was drastically different and that cracks developed as a result of drainage issues Commissioner Baker was allegedly informed of. 

The attorneys for Overland further claim that the insurance company that installed the water line involved in the Stobtown project has not agreed to pay the second lowest bidder, and the commissioner's decision will “result in additional out of pocket expenses of approximately $24,000.” 

The Overland Corporation has requested that the court either order the Carter County Board of Commissioners to cease operations at the Stobtown Road Project or award the contract in compliance with the Public Competitive Bidding Act of 1974. 

On Oct. 23, the court found that Paver’s, Inc. did, in fact, appear to be a dissolved corporation and no longer a legal entity. The court also ruled on a temporary restraining order, preventing the commissioners from continuing further work with Pavers, Inc. on the Stobtown Road Repair Contract. 

“The project which is in dispute at this time, is not an emergency repair and no parties are harmed by delaying said repair,” the order read. The Overland Corporation submitted a motion for summary judgement on Dec. 15, asking the court to grant a judgment in it’s favor and order the commissioners to award the contract to Overland. 

Additional time for a response was requested by the defense due to positive cases of COVID-19, and an extension to Jan. 23 was granted by the court. No further action has been taken at this time.