Dallas Issued a $209 Million Contract to a Corrupt Contractor

The contract for a drainage ditch in northern and eastern Dallas has flooded City Hall with controversy.

By Alain StephensMay 27, 2016 2:10 pm| ,

Some cities are trying to do something to prevent flooding in vulnerable areas. What may be less comforting is how well that’s working out. For instance, a new $209 million contract to deal with flooding in Uptown and eastern Dallas is under new scrutiny after an audit that revealed that the city may not have followed the proper procedures when it comes to how it awarded the contract.

Tristan Hallman, a reporter for the Dallas Morning News, says that it’s causing the city some problems. It even included a subcontract for a convicted felon, who defrauded the city during the Don Hill corruption case.

“Details of the report seem to suggest that they didn’t examine whether the lowest bidder was actually should have declared responsive,” Hallman says. “Which means they disqualified them for not having enough experience … The other company that got it has sort of a history with the city, has done a lot of work with the city. What happened was, they didn’t give the same scrutiny to the second company as they did to the original lowest bidder.”

This contract may open the city up to a lawsuit. But its implications reach even farther outside of the Dallas city limits.

“These are kinds of projects that happen all the time in other cities,” Hallman says. “This was a 2012 bond issue. You don’t think of drainage tunnels as very exciting, but every city needs storm water management and you have to wonder about the scrutiny thats put on the contract process for these kinds of things. It’s very high stake, it’s a lot of taxpayer money.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.

Prepared for web by Alexandra Hart.