Ky. transportation officials seek dismissal of Louisville firm's - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ky. transportation officials seek dismissal of Louisville firm's bridges suit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit accusing state officials of “fraudulent and discriminatory actions” that cost a Louisville company work on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Mathis & Sons and owner Maureen Mathis “have failed to adequately exhaust available administrative remedies” and waited too long to file their lawsuit, the Cabinet argued in documents filed last week in U.S. District Court in Louisville.

Mathis alleges that its company should have easily received a minority-owned business designation needed to secure a contract on the $2.3 billion construction project. Instead, the company claims, Cabinet employees urged removing the certification and, during the resulting delay, Walsh Construction filled the position promised for Mathis.

The cabinet's refusal to re-certify the company was based on “racial animus toward African Americans,” Mathis claims.

In its response to the lawsuit, the Cabinet denies that a state inspector “properly re-confirmed” that Mathis is a minority-owned firm; and that employees drafted a “fraudulent letter” to the committee that oversees the “disadvantaged business enterprise” program.

The Cabinet also argues that the state employees named in the lawsuit, as well as the Cabinet, have immunity under the 11th Amendment.

Construction is underway on the downtown and upriver sections of the bridges project, a joint venture between Kentucky and Indiana. The two new bridges and a rehabilitated Kennedy Bridge are expected to open in 2016.

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