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Contractor Turco Golf Has 'Mismanaged' GRHS Fields Project, Losing Bidder Claims

A representative of the second-lowest bidder for the fields work at Glen Rock High School says Turco Golf should have foreseen problems with soil, and isn't experienced enough to perform the work.

A contractor who lost out on the claims the winning bidder, Suffern-based Turco Golf, bid low to run up change orders in what he called a "debacle" of a project.

In a letter addressed to the Glen Rock Board of Education (but actually sent to ) on Sept. 5, Phil Pirro, vice president of Applied Landscape Technologies, said , has been "mismanaged."

District officials had but the finding of unsuitable soil and spells of rain have delayed the opening of the fields until late October, if at all this season.

"Right after the bid, I called your engineer, Spiezle Architects, and told them that I felt the reason for the great difference from low bid to second bid was the handling of the soil and export," Pirro wrote in the letter. His company bid $3,888,857, a full $330,000 more than Turco. The next lowest bidder submitted a total of $4,052,256.

Pirro said the – wet soil excacation was necessary and his firm and four other high bidders anticipated it, as reflected in their higher bids.

Spiezle Architects did not respond to a request for comment.

Pirro also says Turco wasn't even qualified to perform the work.

"I also told him to check his references as Turco Golf only had completed one synthetic turf project in NJ, and the project was late due to 'weather related' delays," he said, adding that since ground broke at Glen Rock his firm has completed three similar turf projects.

Pirro said Turco should submit a "pay and performance bond" to protect the district. The bond assures that all subcontractors and materials are paid by the contractor so the district isn't held financially liable, he said. 

"The performance part has to do with the contractor finishing on time and so if he cannot fulfill the obligations under the contract (files chapter 11 or gets terminated for cause), the bonding company is obligated to complete the contract for the bid amount," Pirro told Patch.

Glen Rock Business Administrator Michael Rinderknecht declined to comment on Pirro's statements.

Because of change orders, the Glen Rock fields project is now up to $4,152,376, but still under budget by roughly $400,000. 

At Monday night's school board meeting, trustee and operations committee chair Carlo Cella said the multipurpose field remains on track to open by Oct. 19. Rinderknecht will be meeting with the borough's engineer and building department this week to receive a temporary certificate of occupancy (TOC), he added.

Reached for comment Wednesday night, a representative from Turco Golf who refused to provide his name, told Patch Pirro's statements were "garbage" and he was merely a "disgruntled bidder." He had no further comment and declined to answer questions.

On its website, Turco – which specializes in constructing golf courses – says one of the tenants of its company mission is to "be on time and budget."

"We believe that commitments are to be kept, without surprises," the message says. "We pride ourselves on the ability to do what we say, when we say, at an agreed upon investment."

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor James Kleimann at James.Kleimann@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

John Hahn September 14, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Is it sour grapes or a responsible business man who bid the project properly? He was under cut by company who may have finessed our well-paid BOE Biz Mgr who claims to be able to handle such projects. The current contractor was $330,000 under. But now they are $200,000 over. How can a budget of $3.5 million (now at $4.15 million) still be under budget? Was the budget $4.5 million? Why was this never promoted? ALL of these monies are coming from the pockets of ALL TAXPAYERS. If there had been a $4.5 million field re-do including turf in the 2008 Referendum it would have failed. This whole project is an end-around by the BOE to do something they did NOT want to ask the taxpayers to approve directly. I know some parents like the idea of having brand new turf fields. But this years' Seniors on Football & Soccer are not getting the benefit of this field. At $ 4.15 million this field redo costs each homeowner $1,119. That is using simple math. I most cases it will cost more depending on their tax assesment.
Thomas Scerbo September 14, 2012 at 10:00 PM
If you are going to suggest a conspiracy you should use your real name. Budget spin is one thing, but conspiracy and the implication of wrongdoing is another.
USAUSA September 15, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I think any investigation needs to be conducted; someone (GRBOE) it appears did not do the proper due diligence and it is obvious since it has been a nightmare from the start! Nor the BOE or Carlo Cella has taken responsibility or ownership for what is going on or in this case NOT going on and continues to tell us that everything is ok, when we know for a fact that it is not and continues to cost the GR tax payer more money. A proper investigation should be done with regards to any relationships between BOE members and Turco Golf. Because of if what this company Applied Landscape Technologies says is true, then we may just have an issue here.
Andy Lohr Sr September 20, 2012 at 02:43 PM
ten•ant    [ten-uhnt] noun 1. a person or group that rents and occupies land, a house, an office, or the like, from another for a period of time; lessee. 2. Law . a person who holds or possesses for a time lands, tenements, or personalty of another, usually for rent. 3. an occupant or inhabitant of any place. ten•et    [ten-it; noun any opinion, principle, doctrine, dogma, etc., especially one held as true by members of a profession, group, or movement. Examples of TENET 1. the central tenets of a religion 2. one of the basic tenets of the fashion industry
Lowell February 13, 2013 at 08:44 PM
The problem that no one addresses here that affects all the Taxpayers and bussnesses in and around this project is the poor economic choice . here you have a New Jersey Contractor that pays New Jersey taxes , that also hires new jersey workers that pay New jersey taxes that fund these types of projects . New Jersey workers and Businesses fuel our local economy. Government, business's, professionals, and the entire state depend on employed residents and vibrant local companies..We all feel the effect of losing out to a out of state contractor that brings in out of state workers that contribute nothing to the New Jersey economy . Please check out this study done that shows that we all should put local hiring first http://www.risep-fiu.org/2006/08/hiring-our-ownthe-impact-of-local-vs-non-local-hiring-practices-in-two-county-gob-projects/

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