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Judge finds handling of WV Lottery bids ‘shocking’

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Lottery’s decision to disqualify a low bidder and award a $7.6 million construction contract to another company was “completely irrational” and “fatally flawed,” according to a judge’s ruling issued Monday.

Kanawha Circuit Judge Jennifer Bailey ordered the Lottery to sign a contract with Maynard C. Smith Construction Co., of Charleston, which submitted the lowest bid by $174,000.

The bid dispute has delayed the Lottery’s plans to renovate its headquarters building in Charleston for three months.

“State [officials] have engaged in a decision-making process that has no rational basis in fact and is, therefore, contrary to the laws of this state,” Bailey wrote in a 14-page order Monday.

Last March, Lottery officials selected MCS Construction for the renovations but rescinded a proposed contract after a competitor, Wiseman Construction, complained that MCS didn’t include references in its bid for the project.

The state failed to attach a required form — used by contractors to submit references — to bid application documents.

Nevertheless, the Lottery subsequently awarded the project to Wiseman, which did include references in its bid…

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