PAWTUCKET — A local landscaping company has filed a lawsuit against the city of Pawtucket alleging that city officials failed to put numerous landscaping contracts out for public bid.
D.M. Bruzzi Landscape Co. Inc. filed a complaint in Superior Court on Dec. 28 naming the city as a defendant, along with city Parks Superintendent William Mulholland, Finance Director Ronald Wunschel, and Purchasing Director Joseph Roque.
The complaint alleges that over a course of years, the defendants failed to submit for public bidding city landscaping contracts greater than $5,000 each, including, but not limited to, contracts related to 46 purchase orders.
The complaint also alleges that the defendants' failure to competitively and publicly bid these city contracts “deprived the plaintiff of multiple business opportunities” and that the plaintiff “suffered damages as a result of the defendants' conduct.”
The attorney for D.M. Bruzzi Landscape Co. is Mark McBurney, who has in recent months accused the city of several other violations involving the awarding of municipal contracts as well as violations to the Access to Public Records Act. Most of the complaints stem from a separate lawsuit that has been filed by a group of parents and the ACLU against the city alleging that parochial schools get preferential treatment over public schools in the use of municipal-owned playing fields.
The attorney general's office ruled twice that the city violated the Access to Public Records Act (APRA) in complaints to the ongoing playing fields dispute, and also agreed to pursue a third such complaint. The attorney general's office, however, declined to pursue McBurney's request for an investigation into 46 purchase orders totaling almost $500,000 to see if there are violations of state purchasing laws.
Additionally, on Dec. 29, McBurney filed a joint complaint with college student Gabriella Calise in Superior Court against the city on another Access to Public Records Act complaint. In this case, McBurney said that the city had denied Calise's request for a copy of the city's rules and regulations regarding the use of city parks and athletic fields that was last in effect before Jan. 1, 2010.
The city had cited the fact that it had not yet adopted the written “Supplemental Rules and Regulations” regarding the use of city fields before January 1, 2010 as the grounds for denying the request. However, McBurney argued that it wasn't the “Supplemental Rules and Regulations” that Calise had asked for, and that the defendant's response failed to adequately address her request.