Biloxi may be headed to court over multi-million dollar infrastructure contract

Biloxi may be headed to court over multi-million dollar infrastructure contract

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Biloxi leaders had a decision to make recently regarding the best contractor for a major infrastructure overhaul in East Biloxi for the area south of the tracks.

On Friday, the city awarded a $93 million contract to Hemphill Construction for a new project, despite contractor Oscar Renda filing for a temporary restraining order in accepting the bid.

"My deciding factor is always look at the people." said Felix Gines, council member. "Talking with the administration, getting the best advice we could and looking at all the dynamics, I felt it was best to vote in that interest."

Oscar Renda is currently doing the work north of the tracks and also submitted a bid for the south contract.

"I keep hearing about the roads being disrepair and that being an ongoing issue, but nobody is asking why we are where we are.  Nobody is asking why we are where we are. Why paving is not being done," said General Superintendent John Cowart. "The main problem we have right now is we have two different areas of the project that we've had major redesign. The major design errors that continue. That we have no resolution on. That we send out letters daily begging, asking for help; please help us get these things moving."

Biloxi city officials acknowledge there are design problems that are being worked on. Leaders say design problems are typical but because of the scope of this project there are more issues than usual.

"The $11 million difference between us and Hemphill. On the south contract it was $11 million. I think that right there is the hardest pill to swallow," noted Cowart.

WLOX asked Oscar Renda Construction Chief Financial Officer Corey Wells how he thought the contract award to Hemphill Construction would affect his company's request for a temporary restraining order.

Wells noted, "We think it makes our case stronger. The court should have had an opportunity to respond to the order before the city did anything. We are still proceeding with the hearing."

Officials with Oscar Renda says they still plan to have their day before a judge.

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