Fed. Claims Nixes Protest of $160M Embassy Contract

February 12, 2015 – In The News

Dirk Haire and Alexa Santora were featured in the Law360 article “Fed. Claims Nixes Protest of $160M Embassy Contract.” Full text can be found in the February 12, 2015, issue, but a synopsis is below.

Wednesday the U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled that the federal government wasn’t unfair in refusing to consider a previous project's inflation-adjusted value in rejecting Framaco International Inc.’s bid for a contract to build an embassy compound in Zimbabwe.

Judge Marian Blank Horn stated that while Framaco was correct that the U.S. Department of State had applied inflation adjustments to calculate the value of contractors’ previous projects, this contract differed because the U.S. Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations had established a firm threshold and never said it would consider adjusted values.

In March 2014 OBO announced that it was accepting bids for contractors to prequalify for the $165 million project to design and build an embassy compound in Zimbabwe. Bidders could also seek qualification for embassy projects in Kosovo, Turkmenistan, Mexico and Iraq.

Shortly before Framaco filed bids for prequalification for all five projects, the company’s president asked the contracting officer to clarify whether Framaco’s work on a $122 million embassy project in Belgrade, Serbia, could be adjusted for inflation.

The contracting officer said that he was welcome to make a case for why the government should consider a lower value than its stated $124 million threshold but warned that Framaco may not be successful.

Framaco adjusted the Belgrade project's value to $133 million, but the OBO rejected its bid and awarded the Zimbabwe contract to Caddell Construction Co., which later intervened in Framaco’s suit.

Caddell Construction's attorney Dirk Haire told Law360 that the companies are involved in a nearly identical dispute in the Court of Federal Claims over a contract for an embassy in Mozambique.

Caddell Construction is represented by Dirk Haire and Alexa Santora of Fox Rothschild LLP.