The CEO of a waste removal company competing for a bid to pick up Hoboken’s solid waste and recycling said “see you in court” last night after the council voted to give a $1.98 million contract to their current vendor.
Gary Giordano is the CEO and President of JSI/Galaxy Carting, which is a fourth-generation owned business that has solid waste removal and recycling contracts with a variety of North Jersey municipalities such as Union City and West New York.
In an interview, he said that he believes the city council was “duped” into renewing its solid waste removal contract with Cali.
“To tell you the truth, I don’t think the council was aware of what was trying to be pulled on them. I think somebody, I don’t know who and I don’t why, but Cali has been servicing this town for a long time, don’t know how deep their roots run here, but I think they tried to pull a fast one on the council and slip this through and figure we weren’t going to say anything, but we were going to say something. It’s not fair,” said Giordano.
He explained that his company was going out to bid with a contract that would have saved the city $1.3 million over three years (the duration of the agreement).
He continued that city officials from the Department of Environmental Services (DES) had visited JSI’s facilities, inspected their trucks and checked out references.
” … This past Monday, we answered all questions and issues from corporation counsel that he sent on Friday at 5:30 p.m. And then on Tuesday, the council went into closed session, and today we’re here being shocked,” he began.
“We found out early today, we had a feeling last night that something wasn’t right because nobody called to say ‘congratulations,’ we had a bad feeling, but nobody called to say there was a problem. And now the council is being made aware of it.”
Thomas Scrivo, a partner at the law firm O’Toole Scrivo, spoke during the public portion of the meeting on the behalf of Cali Carting, Inc., which ultimately compelled Council President Jen Giattino to request an executive session to further discuss the matter.
He described five reasons why city officials with the Department of Environmental Services recommended that the city reject the lower-priced bid, going so far as to say that it misrepresented its bid by artificially deflating it.
“The recommendations, from your professionals to reject their bid, is because there are five, material, non-waivable fee events in that low bid,” began Scrivo.
“The first reason is the insurance certificate for environmental pollution coverage that was not submitted with the bid. That is a material defect. The second reason is the failure for JSI to provide the diesel retrofit compliance certificate, which is actually a legal case that was decided here in Hudson County by Judge Peter Bariso against JSI involving their bid with Bayonne where they did the same exact thing, and failed to provide compliance with the diesel retrofit program,” Scrivo explained.
” … The final reason the rejection of the bid by JSI should be upheld is that it misrepresented information. You had asked what were the contracts that were performed and completed since 2010, and JSI listed the township of Cedar Grove. That contract was not completed, in fact GSI was terminated from that contract in 2015 for failure to perform.”
Scrivo added that he was privy to that information because he was corporation counsel for Cedar Grove back at that time, reiterating that there were plenty of examples to show “material representation warranting the rejection of that bid.”
Giordano was infuriated by Scrivo’s claims and gave his own perspective during our one-on-one interview
“Cali’s lawyer brought up non-compliance with USDOT. What he was saying was that there’s a head sheet that you do every two years that you send in to DOT where you tell them how many trucks and drivers you have and if there are any changes from two years prior,” began Giordano.
“That form also shows how many trucks were out of service; we had zero put out of service by the state police. Cali had eight trucks out of service. In fact, four of them tipped over and caused major accidents. One of them hit a tollbooth on the New Jersey Turnpike, and two months ago one flipped over on the Turnpike. They shouldn’t even be allowed on the road,” he exclaimed.
He was particularly irate when the Scrivo claimed that Cedar Grove banished JSI for failure to complete the contract, stating that they took over a contract from federal bankruptcy court and that they were never terminated or asked to leave – it was a mutual agreement to put the contract back out to bid.
He was still astonished by the city’s actions between last Friday through yesterday’s council meeting.
“I really don’t know why the city changed their mind. I really, honestly don’t know. I think they were very misled, I think a lot of information was held back from them,” Giordano stated.
“Our attorneys will now start a lawsuit against the town, and the town will have to show just cause why they didn’t save the taxpayers $1.3 million and why they didn’t award it to the lowest bidder, most responsible bidder. Yes, there were flaws, but Cali too has flaws in its contract. It’s really a shame, it shouldn’t be this way.”
The vote to approve the Cali Carting contract passed 8-1, with 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco abstaining.
DeFusco said today that he abstained since the administration lacked “a compelling argument” as to why they wouldn’t want to save the taxpayers over a million dollars.
A city spokesman said the city does not comment on ongoing or pending litigation.