The District of Columbia government has rescinded two contracts totaling nearly $106,000 awarded to a Virginia construction company because of alleged violations of a law designed to help minority businesses win more city contract work.
It was the first time that the city's Department of General Services had rescinded contracts for that reason, a department official said.
The Department last week notified G & C Construction Corp., a general contracting company at 2820 Old Lee Highway, Merrifield, of the cancellation. It said the action was taken because the company's work allegedly was completed and managed instead by National Restoration Corp., a company not approved by the city for participation in special minority contracting arrangements.
G & C Construction does millions of dollars worth of work for the District government, according to company Vice-President Robert E. Nippes.
In fact, Nippes said 60 to 70 percent of the company's total business is with the city government. The company's work involves such projects as rehabilitating housing projects, repairing curbs, gutters and sidewalks, and asphalt work.
The rescinded contracts were for $39,000 to repair the roof of Turner Elementary School at Stanton Road and Alabama Avenue SE, and $66,700 to repair a roof at D.C. Village in Southwest.
The "sheltered" minority market was set up by the D.C. City Council to help minority businessmen who in the past have been deprived of equal business opportunities.
Firms that have been certified as minority-controlled are invited to bid on selected contract offerings from which nonminority companies are excluded. The District can expect these bids, even though they may range as high as 10 percent more than estimated by District planners.
Ali Nademin, chief of the contract division in the department's Bureau of Repairs and Improvements, said that G & C bid for and was awarded a $13,500 contract last May to repair the roof at D.C. General Hospital. Instead of doing the work themselves, however, G & C allegedly had the project completed by National Restoration.
That alleged violation took place only a few months after G & C bid for and was turned down on an $83,000 contract to make roof repairs at several city buildings because G & C told officials the company planned to subcontract all the work to National Restoration, Nademin said.
G & C was able to qualify as a minority because its president, Agripino Rey, is from Spain, said Nippes, vice-president of the company.
Nippes said his company intends to appeal the decision to rescind the contracts.
On the D.C. General Hospital job, Nippes said that G & C hired some National Restoration employes but paid the workers directly.
When the City Council passed its minority business opportunities law in 1976, it defined minorities as blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, Orientals and Eskimos. The District's Minority Business Opportunities Commission is in the midst of revising its guidelines. Commission Executive Director Courtland V. Cox declined to talk about the guidelines, saying only that they would be printed Oct. 12 in the D.C. Register.
G & C Construction and National Restoration are both in the same small complex of trailers and offices on Old Lee Highway, along with a third contracting company, Roubin and Janeiro Inc. The three firms not only share the site, but they also have family and business ties.
Willis Creasey, president of National Restoration, said he formerly worked for both of the other companies. Charles Turner, vice-president of National Restoration, was a former director of G & C Construction, according to corporate records on file at the D.C. Recorder of Deeds office.
In addition, Angel Roubin, president of Roubin and Janeiro, is a brother-in-law of both G & C Construction's Rey and A. R. Troitino, who company officials said was the major stockholder of National Restoration.
Creasey said National Restoration has applied for minority certification from the city because Troitino is from Spain.
When Troitino was called by a reporter, however, he said, "I gave them the use of my name, but I have nothing to do with the company."