Jessie Van Berkel City Beat
Citizens for Sunshine is suing Sarasota yet again for an alleged Government in the Sunshine Law violation — this one related to the $7.3 million State Street parking garage project.
The advocacy group’s complaint, filed Monday, states that the evaluation committee in charge of ranking companies and awarding the construction contract for the garage met publicly in November. The committee narrowed the list of bidders to four companies, which did not include A.D. Morgan, the one that ultimately was awarded the project.
Citizens for Sunshine stated in a press release that they reviewed scoresheets ranking the bidders for the project and saw scores were changed and crossed out.
A Sarasota purchasing department employee realized A.D. Morgan qualified for extra points under the city’s regulations and called the committee members, according to the complaint.
The members agreed over the phone – and out of the sunshine — to change the scores that were initially given in the public meeting, according to the suit. A.D. Morgan moved into first place.
Citizens for Sunshine filed a temporary injunction with the Sarasota Circuit Court and asked the court to prevent the city from taking any action based on the evaluation committee’s recommendations.
The city has not yet responded to the complaint.
The lawsuit could stall the parking garage project, which the city is required to finish by 2015. It will be located near Pineapple Square, and will likely include about 400 parking spots as well as retail and commercial space.