Two D.C. Court of Appeals judges yesterday affirmed a lower court decision allowing the city lottery board to resolicit bids for the lucrative daily numbers contract.
In a brief order, appellate judges John M. Ferren and William C. Pryor affirmed a ruling earlier this month by D.C. Superior Court Judge Richard S. Salzman, who brushed aside objections from the firm that was previously awarded the contract and permitted the board to seek new offers.
Ferren and Pryor gave no reason for rejecting the appeal filed by Lottery Technology Enterprises, the firm the lottery board selected in March to operate the numbers game. Lottery Technology's lawyers claimed that the lottery board was coerced by Mayor Marion Barry and his top aides to resolicit new bids and that Salzman should have heard evidence about the pressure before deciding whether to let the lottery agency ask for new bids.
The lottery board, which issued its new bid solicitation 10 days ago, yesterday extended the deadline for submitting new proposals from this coming Friday until May 25 after discussing a variety of changes in the contract terms with prospective bidders.
Officials for D.C. Data Co. and Columbia Gaming Services Inc., the two firms that lost to Lottery Technology in the earlier bidding, both asked the board to extend the deadline until June 20. They said the extra time was needed because the new bid request requires substantially more documentation about the financial arrangements of the bidders, including more information about the proposed minority participation levels of the various bidders.
"We object to not being given an adequate amount of time," Thomas I. Ahart, president of Columbia Gaming, said after the board extended the deadline by five days. "I think this is a new proposal, substantially changed from the first proposal."
The protracted dispute over the contract award to Lottery Technology centered on the degree and validity of the joint venture's minority participation.
In its new bid request, the board has told prospective bidders that they must show by various signed agreements that at least 35 percent of the value of the contract will go to certified minority business enterprises. The contract may be worth $4 million annually, based on anticipated annual wagering of $100 million.
Despite making the language of the bid request more explicit than last time, the board yesterday heard numerous complaints that it was still too vague.
Marion (Duke) Greene, a local computer company official and one of the partners in the D.C. Data firm, angrily told the board at one point that the bid solicitation was "totally subjective. I'm frustrated at this."
The board said it would consider the various objections and review the proposed changes tomorrow.