Whitehorn wins Airport Road project with low-ball bid
Procurement Office has awarded the multi million dollar Airport Road and Intersection Improvement project to Lake Elsinore, Calif. based Whitehorn Construction, which has already set up an office in American Samoa.
Samoa News reported early this month that two companies submitted bids for the project that government engineers estimate will cost $11.84 million. One bidder is McDonnell Dowell with a bid of $11.03 million and the second bidder is Whitehorn Construction at $7.99 million.
In an Aug. 23 letter from Chief Procurement Officer Ivy Taufa’asau (who is off-island) and signed by acting chief procurement officer, Sapi Ma’o-Ena, the deputy director for the agency, informed company president Loran Whitehorn that the firm has been selected for this project for the amount of $7.99 million.
“The bid submitted by your firm is the lowest, most responsive and advantageous to the American Samoa Government,” the letter says, which included the contract for the federally funded project to be signed and returned to ASG by the close of business on Aug. 28.
Also to be submitted by that deadline is the U.S. Department of Treasury Circular 570 Performance Bond and Materials and Labor Payment Bond; Public Liability Insurance and Workers Comp insurance.
“Execution of the contract by ASG is subject to Whitehorn Construction obtaining performance and materials and labor payment bonds which are acceptable to ASG,” the letter states. “The American Samoa Government anticipates good service and the timely completion of this project from Whitehorn Construction Inc.”
Copies of the award letter were sent to the Department of Public Works, the ASG entity overseeing this project to its completion.
Documents obtained last month by Samoa News state that Whitehorn is insured by Liberty Mutual Surety’s Safeco Insurance Company of America, based in Glendale, Calif.
In a September 2010 letter, the company states that it handles the “bonding needs for Whitehorn Construction and we have done so for quite sometime.”
Whitehorn is “approved on single size projects in the $10,000,000 dollar range, with an aggregate backlog in the $20,000,000 neighborhood,” according to the letter signed by Edward N. Hackett, insurance company’s ‘Attorney-in-Fact’.
It also says that Safeco is U.S. Treasury listed and is a California admitted surety. “If bonds for Faithful Performance and Material Payment would be required, we would be pleased to write them subject to normal underwriting requirement being met as well as review of all pertinent documentations and verification of financing.”
The company’s website, www.whitehornconstruction.com, was not accessible around 4p.m local time and therefore no other additional information about the company was available at press time.
Information on the Santa Ana District Office of the U.S. Small Business Administration website shows that Whitehorn Construction is a general contractor offering a full spectrum of design, pre-construction, development, planning, and construction services.
Additionally, the company “has acquired a reputation for reliability and competitive pricing”, with offices in Lake Elsinore and San Diego in Calif., Yuma in Ariz., and Pago Pago, American Samoa.
Samoa News understands there were concerns about the huge difference between the government’s estimated cost and the bid by the lowest bidder — over $4Mil; however with the award, it looks like they have been addressed.