BART's Lucky Break: Transit Agency Doesn't Lose $800K in State Grants

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Readers may recall a series of stories about a bizarre course of events in which a man who publicly condemned BART's board of directors as "servants of the devil" was subsequently awarded part of a multi-million dollar contract by that very same board.

Accusations of being minions of Satan may have been the high point of BART's relationship with contractor Nedar Bey. The scion of Oakland's Your Black Muslim Bakery empire repeatedly failed to come up with the bonding and licensing required to undertake the $800,000 lighting job he was contracted to do at North Berkeley BART station. This was especially problematic because Bey's inability to get his act together jeopardized the availability of the grant money for this entirely state-funded project.

Well Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah to BART. It turns out the state will fork over the money and the work will get done; neither BART nor the state will even have to pay any additional funds after all of this drama. Truly, BART has fallen out the window only to land on a discarded mattress -- and found 20 bucks under the dumpster to boot.

State rules stipulated BART must have contracts signed by Oct. 31 or the funds from the California Transportation Commission would evaporate. Bey and BART signed a last-minute, Oct. 30 pact giving Bey's firm, Solar Eclipse, until Nov. 12 to line up his insurance, bonding, and licensing. It didn't -- and BART officials fretted that the roughly $800,000 in state funds earmarked for the work at North Berkeley station might be gone forever.

"I am glad we didn't lose the money because of Solar Eclipse's inability to arrange for bonding and insurance," said BART board member Bob Franklin. "BART is not having to contribute to make up any shortfall and we are not getting additional sources of money. Yeah, it worked out -- we're doing what we intended to do and we're getting it done for the same amount of money."

Because of complicated missteps that don't reflect well on BART -- read the whole, detailed story here -- the lighting contracts for 12th Street Oakland and North Berkeley BART stations were split between LINC Corporation and Bey's Solar Eclipse; LINC was slated to handle the Oakland station while Solar Eclipse would work on Berkeley. Yet with Solar Eclipse unable to step up to the plate, BART simply honored LINC's original bid to work on both stations. It filed a "Change Order" with the state, adding $803,186 to LINC's original contract for the work at North Berkeley.

Once again, BART has come out of this eerily well. If this were a sit com, everyone would laugh at an unfunny joke and the frame would freeze.

And the BART train would be on time.



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