B-169592(1), MAR 18, 1971

B-169592(1): Mar 18, 1971

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ALL PERSONS PRESENT AT BID OPENING OTHER THAN PROTESTANT AGREE THAT LYNCH'S BID PRICES AS RECORDED ON THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS WERE THE SAME AS THOSE READ ALOUD. THERE ARE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS AS TO WHETHER THE ABSTRACT WAS SIGNED BEFORE OR AFTER BID OPENING. THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD SUPPORTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION THAT THERE WERE NO IMPROPRIETIES. A BID ABSTRACT WAS AVAILABLE FOR INSPECTION IN THE OFFICE OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD PROTESTANT REQUESTED SUCH REVIEW. WOULD BE JUSTIFIED IN TO SAN FRANCISCO MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY: FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF MAY 5. THE ABOVE-REFERENCED IFB WAS ISSUED MARCH 23. HOURLY RATES FOR "EXTRA LABOR" WERE TO BE ENTERED UPON BLANKS WHICH APPEARED AS FOLLOWS ON PAGE 8 OF THE INVITATION: "SECTION 2 - EXTRA LABOR: 1.

B-169592(1), MAR 18, 1971

BID PROTEST - RECORDATION OF PRICES DECISION DENYING PROTEST AGAINST CONTRACT AWARD TO LYNCH & SONS VAN STORAGE COMPANY UNDER AN IFB ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION TO PROVIDE MOVING AND RELATED SERVICES ON AN HOURLY BASIS. ALL PERSONS PRESENT AT BID OPENING OTHER THAN PROTESTANT AGREE THAT LYNCH'S BID PRICES AS RECORDED ON THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS WERE THE SAME AS THOSE READ ALOUD. THERE ARE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS AS TO WHETHER THE ABSTRACT WAS SIGNED BEFORE OR AFTER BID OPENING, BUT THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD SUPPORTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION THAT THERE WERE NO IMPROPRIETIES. ALSO, A BID ABSTRACT WAS AVAILABLE FOR INSPECTION IN THE OFFICE OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER HAD PROTESTANT REQUESTED SUCH REVIEW. IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, NO BASIS EXISTS UPON WHICH THE COMP. GEN. WOULD BE JUSTIFIED IN

TO SAN FRANCISCO MOVING AND STORAGE COMPANY:

FURTHER REFERENCE IS MADE TO YOUR TELEGRAM OF MAY 5, 1970, AND SUBSEQUENT CORRESPONDENCE, PROTESTING THE AWARD OF A CONTRACT TO LYNCH AND SONS VAN AND STORAGE COMPANY (LYNCH) UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS (IFB) NO. GS-09T- 322, ISSUED BY THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION, TRANSPORTATION AND COMMUNICATIONS SERVICE, SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA.

THE ABOVE-REFERENCED IFB WAS ISSUED MARCH 23, 1970, TO PROCURE MOVING AND RELATED SERVICES ON AN HOURLY BASIS FROM MAY 1, 1970 THROUGH APRIL 30, 1971, IN THE SAN FRANCISCO AND LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA AREAS. HOURLY RATES FOR "EXTRA LABOR" WERE TO BE ENTERED UPON BLANKS WHICH APPEARED AS FOLLOWS ON PAGE 8 OF THE INVITATION:

"SECTION 2 - EXTRA LABOR:

1. MONDAY THRU FRIDAY, 8 A.M. TO 5 P.M. - 70*

2. SATURDAYS AND OVERTIME MONDAY THRU FRIDAY (NATIONAL HOLIDAYS EXCEPTED) - 8*

3. SUNDAYS AND NATIONAL HOLIDAYS - 2*

*AWARD WEIGHT"

BID OPENING WAS HELD AT 1:00 P.M. PST, APRIL 14, 1970, AT WHICH TIME SEVEN BIDS WERE OPENED. PRESENT AT THE BID OPENING, IN ADDITION TO YOU, WERE TWO REPRESENTATIVES OF LYNCH AND A REPRESENTATIVES OF LYNCH AND A REPRESENTATIVE OF A THIRD BIDDER, DEWITT TRANSFER & STORAGE COMPANY (DEWITT). THE PRINCIPAL ALLEGATION OF YOUR PROTEST IS THAT WHEN THE BID OF LYNCH WAS OPENED, THAT FIRM'S HOURLY RATES FOR EXTRA LABOR IN SAN FRANCISCO, SECTION 2, ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3, WERE READ ALOUD AS $10.00 FOR EACH ITEM. YOUR BIDS FOR SECTION 2, ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3, RESPECTIVELY, WERE $7.90, $9.50 AND $9.50, WHICH WOULD HAVE MADE YOU THE LOW BIDDER. YOU FURTHER ALLEGE THAT THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS, WHICH YOU HAD SIGNED BEFORE THE RECORDING OF BIDS, WAS NOT MADE AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION FOR SEVERAL DAYS, AND THAT THE COPY THEN MADE AVAILABLE REFLECTED BIDS BY LYNCH FOR SECTION 2, ITEMS 1, 2 AND 3 AS $7.60, $9.00 AND $9.50, RESPECTIVELY. THESE PRICES WERE THOSE AT WHICH LYNCH WAS AWARDED THE CONTRACT AS THE LOW BIDDER. YOU FURTHER ALLEGE THAT THE BID TABULATOR DID NOT RECORD THE BIDS UPON THE BID ABSTRACT, BUT UPON A SEPARATE SHEET OF PAPER. THE DISCREPANCY BETWEEN LYNCH'S BIDS AS RECORDED BY YOU AND THOSE SUBSEQUENTLY APPEARING ON THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS, THE ALLEGED TEMPORARY UNAVAILABILITY OF THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS, AND THE ALLEGED FAILURE TO TABULATE THE BIDS UPON THE BID ABSTRACT FORM, LED YOU TO SUSPECT DISHONESTY ON THE PART OF THE PROCURING ACTIVITY "INVOLVING THE DELIBERATE DISTORTION OF FACT AND RE ARRANGEMENT OF DOCUMENTS."

THE ADMINISTRATIVE REPORT OF THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION (GSA), A COPY OF WHICH WAS FURNISHED YOU FOR REVIEW AND COMMENT, ENCLOSED COPIES OF LYNCH'S BID AND THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS WHICH REFLECT ONLY THE PRICES AT WHICH THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED. IT IS THE POSITION OF GSA THAT THERE IS NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER TENDING TO SUBSTANTIATE YOUR ALLEGATIONS, AND THAT YOU MUST HAVE MISUNDERSTOOD THE BID PRICES AS THEY WERE BEING READ.

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

WITH REGARD TO THE DOCUMENT UPON WHICH THE BIDS WERE RECORDED, ALL PERSONS, OTHER THAN YOU, WHO WERE PRESENT AT THE BID OPENING HAVE STATED THAT THE BID PRICES WERE ENTERED UPON THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS AS THEY WERE READ. THE DEWITT REPRESENTATIVE STATED HE SIGNED THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS BEFORE BID OPENING. THE AFFIDAVITS OF THE BID OPENING OFFICER AND THE BID TABULATOR STATE THAT THOSE PRESENT WERE REQUESTED TO SIGN THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS AFTER THE RECORDING OF BIDS, WITH WHICH ONE LYNCH REPRESENTATIVE IS IN AGREEMENT. THE OTHER LYNCH REPRESENTATIVE DOES NOT RECALL WHEN HE SIGNED THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS.

IN SUMMARY, ALL PERSONS PRESENT AT THE BID OPENING, OTHER THAN YOU, AGREE THAT THE LYNCH BID PRICES AS RECORDED WERE THE SAME AS THOSE READ ALOUD, AND THAT THE BIDS WERE RECORDED ON THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS RATHER THAN ON AN INTERMEDIATE SHEET OF PAPER. THERE ARE CONFLICTING STATEMENTS AS TO WHETHER THOSE PRESENT SIGNED THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS BEFORE OR AFTER BID OPENING. IN VIEW THEREOF, AND OF OUR OWN EXAMINATION OF DOCUMENTS WITHIN THE GSA FILES, WE ARE OF THE OPINION THAT THE EVIDENCE OF RECORD SUPPORTS THE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITION. THEREFORE, WE MUST CONCLUDE THAT THE CONTRACT WAS AWARDED TO LYNCH AT THE HOURLY RATES CONTAINED IN ITS BID.

YOU FURTHER MAINTAIN THAT A COPY OF THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS WAS PURPOSELY WITHHELD FROM PUBLIC INSPECTION FOR SEVERAL DAYS AFTER THE BID OPENING. IN THIS REGARD, WE ARE ADVISED BY GSA THAT UNDER ITS GENERAL PROCEDURE, THE ORIGINAL AND FIRST CARBON COPY OF THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS WOULD BE TAKEN TO THE GSA TRANSPORTATION DIVISION FOR A TABULATION OF THE OVERALL LOW BIDDERS. THE SECOND CARBON COPY WOULD BE LEFT WITH THE SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS SERVICE CENTER. AFTER THE TABULATION HAS BEEN MADE AND THE CONTRACT HAS BEEN AWARDED, THE FIRST CARBON COPY WOULD BE SIGNED BY THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND SENT TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS SERVICE CENTER, WHICH WOULD IN TURN ANNOTATE THE SECOND CARBON COPY WITH INFORMATION AS TO WHO WAS THE OVERALL LOW BIDDER. THE SECOND CARBON COPY WOULD THEN BE FORWARDED TO THE LOS ANGELES BUSINESS SERVICE CENTER.

IN THE INSTANT CASE, THE SECOND CARBON COPY OF THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS, WHICH SHOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE POSSESSION OF THE SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS SERVICE CENTER, DISAPPEARED SOMETIME BETWEEN APRIL 14 AND 20, 1970. UPON DISCOVERY OF THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THIS COPY, THE FIRST CARBON COPY WAS BROUGHT TO THE SAN FRANCISCO BUSINESS SERVICE CENTER FOR REVIEW. INQUIRY BY REPRESENTATIVES OF OUR OFFICE DISCLOSED THAT THE SECOND CARBON COPY APPARENTLY HAD BEEN SENT IMMEDIATELY AND PREMATURELY TO THE LOS ANGELES BUSINESS SERVICE CENTER, WHILE THE FIRST CARBON COPY WAS STILL IN THE POSSESSION OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER.

ALTHOUGH OUR INVESTIGATION COULD NOT ESTABLISH WITH CERTAINTY THE CAUSE OF THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE BID ABSTRACT, WE FOUND NO EVIDENCE THAT SUCH DISAPPEARANCE WAS INTENDED BY ANY GSA EMPLOYEE. WE NOTE THAT BETWEEN APRIL 14 AND 20, 1970, TWO COPIES OF THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS WERE AVAILABLE IN THE OFFICE OF THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND COULD HAVE BEEN REVIEWED BY YOU, HAD YOU REQUESTED SUCH REVIEW. MOREOVER, SINCE WE HAVE CONCLUDED THAT THE ABSTRACT OF BIDS SUBSEQUENTLY MADE AVAILABLE TO YOU CORRECTLY REFLECTED LYNCH'S BID, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE BID ABSTRACT COPY IS NOT DISPOSITIVE OF THE PROTEST AND DOES NOT AFFECT THE VALIDITY OF THE AWARD TO LYNCH.

YOUR THIRD ALLEGATION IS THAT LYNCH HAS GIVEN GSA OFFICIALS CERTAIN GRATUITIES, ALTHOUGH YOU ADMIT HAVING NO PROOF THAT SUCH GRATUITIES WERE, IN FACT, GIVEN. OUR INVESTIGATION DISCLOSED NO EVIDENCE WHICH WOULD SUPPORT THIS ALLEGATION.

YOUR FINAL CONTENTION IS THAT A GSA OFFICIAL MAY HAVE IMPERSONATED A REPRESENTATIVE OF THIS OFFICE. YOU ALLEGE THAT AFTER YOU HAD FILED YOUR PROTEST WITH THIS OFFICE, YOUR SECRETARY RECEIVED A TELEPHONE CALL FROM AN INDIVIDUAL WHO IDENTIFIED HIMSELF AS "MR. RODGERS", AN INVESTIGATOR FROM THE GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE WHO WAS INVESTIGATING YOUR PROTEST. YOU ADVISE THAT MR. RODGERS COULD BE CONTACTED ONLY BY TELEPHONE THROUGH THE CONTRACTING OFFICER. OUR INVESTIGATION DID NOT PRODUCE ANY EVIDENCE THAT EITHER THE GSA OR OUR OFFICE HAD ANY KNOWLEDGE OF MR. RODGERS, AND WE WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN ANY INFORMATION CONCERNING THE IDENTITY OF THE CALLER OR THE ORIGIN OF THE CALL. IN VIEW THEREOF, WE ARE UNABLE TO CONCLUDE THAT A GSA OFFICIAL MADE SUCH A CALL.

AS YOU ARE AWARE, PEETERS TRANSPORTATION COMPANY, INC. (PEETERS) HAS ALLEGED ADDITIONAL IMPROPRIETIES IN THE ADMINISTRATION AND PERFORMANCE OF THE GSA LOCAL MOVING CONTRACT. ENCLOSED IS A COPY OF OUR DECISION OF TODAY TO PEETERS, WHEREIN WE ADVISE THAT NO BASIS PRESENTLY EXISTS UPON WHICH OUR OFFICE WOULD BE JUSTIFIED IN DISTURBING THE AWARD TO LYNCH.

IN VIEW OF THE FOREGOING, YOUR PROTEST IS DENIED.