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The sincerest form of flattery — even in government contracting

Author: Kara Mason - April 9, 2018 - Updated: April 9, 2018

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(iStock image / photovs)

There’s a battle brewing over whether a local construction company in Cañon City or a Denver-based construction company should be awarded a bid for voter-approved street projects in Fremont County.

Cañon City engineer Adam Lancaster recommended the bid go to Denver-based Kiewit Construction despite submitting a more costly bid than A&S Construction, which is based in Fremont County, according to reporter Carie Canterbury of the Cañon City Daily Record.

The reason?

Among a few others, plagiarism. Ultimately, A&S’s bid scored much lower than Kiewit’s because it was almost entirely the same as Kiewit’s bid for the same project in 2017.

“This is a gross misrepresentation of the proposer’s integrity and qualifications,” Lancaster reportedly stated in the memo, according to the Daily Record. “The result of this was a score of zero for those sections as the team considered this cheating or fraudulent and cheating should not be afforded partial credit.”

Josh Ary, an owner of A&S construction, admitted to using the Colorado Open Record Act to request Kiewit’s bid from last year, but doesn’t think his company did anything wrong.

“It would be illogical for A&S to attempt to reinvent the wheel by proposing anything but what Kiewit did in the first phase as it relates to the technical proposal,” he reportedly said. “The defamatory statements made about A&S that we cheated or acted fraudulently are vehemently denied by A&S.”

In 2017 Kiewit scored perfectly on its bid and ultimately won the project.

John Paul Ary, another owner of A&S, reportedly said throwing the bid to Kiewit would just cost Cañon City taxpayers more.

The Arys, who also own Fremont Paving and Redi Mix, were in the news over the summer in Pueblo for slapping Pueblo County with a lawsuit when the board of county commissioners decided to hear an appeal from a group of residents in eastern Pueblo County where the company was granted a permit for a gravel pit.

Ary, who isn’t a resident of Pueblo, gave donations to two candidates in the county commissioner race: Garrison Ortiz, a Democrat who won the seat, and Brian Mater, a Republican. Those two were running against each other. Ary denied giving the donations in order to sway the outcome of the gravel pit decision.

According to Caterbury’s report, Cañon City Council decided against awarding the project to Kiewit. Now, the city says it’s going to redo the bidding process and have an independent consultant rate the bids

Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for ColoradoPolitics.com. She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.