O’Malley Admin Violated Procurement Laws, Judge Voids State Center Project

Here is the press release from the coalition of downtown Baltimore businesses that sued the O’Malley administration.

This afternoon, the Honorable Judge Althea Handy of Baltimore City Circuit Court issued summary judgment in the State Center case in favor of the plaintiffs on the material counts. 

Judge Handy ruled that the State Center project documents should have been competitively bid, and that by not doing so the state violated the procurement laws of Maryland. As a result, she held that the contract documents, and thus the project, are void.  

“On behalf of the many downtown businesses, both small and large, that raised questions about this project and how it was awarded, we are pleased,” said Alan Rifkin of Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan and Silver, who represented the plaintiffs. “The court’s ruling reconfirms the significance of following the competitive bidding laws that have served the people of this state for well for so many years.” 

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“Hopefully by the court’s ruling we will be able to keep state agencies in the downtown business district,” said Bonnie Scible, owner of Bonnie’s Peanut Shoppe at 222 N. Charles Street. “I’m proud to be part of this important effort.”

State Center was a multi-billion dollar taxpayer financed development project , a “public-private partnership” between the state and a group of politically connected developers. The O’Malley administration fought back with strong arm tactics, and even tried to change the law to retroactively end the lawsuit against State Center. 

In the end the plaintiffs prevailed, and so did the rule of law. 

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