Control Data Corp. and Columbia Gaming Services Inc., who were partners in a losing effort to win the contract to operate the District of Columbia's daily numbers game, yesterday protested the D.C. lottery board's decision to require that new bids be submitted by tomorrow afternoon.
Both companies asked the board to extend its deadline by at least 45 days, saying that changes made by the board in its new bid solicitation will require them to restructure their proposal to comply with more explicit requirements for substantial minority involvement.
The five-member lottery board, after receiving similar requests from Columbia and another previously unsuccessful bidder, D.C. Data Co., last week extended the deadline for submitting the new bids by five days, from last Friday until tomorrow. Chester C. Carter, the board's executive director, said the board would likely have to meet and consider the newest protest of the deadline.
But three board members--Jerry Cooper, Almore Dale and Lillian Wiggins--said yesterday they see no reason why the deadline should be extended since they believe the bid solicitation is mostly the same as one issued last December. Board member Carolyn Lewis declined comment and the board's chairman, Brant Coopersmith, could not be reached for comment.
Columbia's president, Thomas I. Ahart, said if the board does not change its position, lawyers for Control Data and Columbia will seek a temporary restraining order today to prohibit the board from accepting any bids tomorrow. "We've decided that since the only thing they're going to listen to is the court, then that's what we'll have to do," Ahart said.
The dispute over the deadline is just the latest chapter in the on-going fight over the contract. The board originally awarded the contract to Lottery Technology Enterprises, but a city contract review committee, Mayor Marion Barry and his top aides and the losing bidders all questioned the extent and validity of Lottery Technology's minority participation levels.
Under pressure from Barry, the board earlier this month reluctantly rejected all three bids it had received and asked for new ones.
Ahart said that the new bid solicitation was "substantially changed" and that the changes appeared to benefit Lottery Technology.