Kentucky seeks dismissal of Louisville contractor’s discriminati - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky seeks dismissal of Louisville contractor’s discrimination lawsuit

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says it followed federal rules in 2013 when it took months to certify a Louisville contractor that sought work on the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Mathis & Sons and owner Maureen Mathis also failed to show “evidence of intentional discrimination” in the civil rights lawsuit they filed against Kentucky in 2014, a state attorney argued in documents filed last week in U.S. District Court in Louisville.

The Transportation Cabinet has asked a judge to dismiss the suit alleging that Kentucky officials took too long to grant the Mathis firm a minority-owned business designation, costing the company a contract on the $2.3 billion project.

When it sued the state, Mathis claimed three cabinet employees ignored an inspector’s recommendation that the company remain a “disadvantaged business enterprise.” Such firms participate in a state contracting program for women- and minority-owned businesses.

Walsh Construction, which is overseeing the Kentucky-led downtown part of the bridges project, had agreed to hire Mathis once it got the certification and another approval, according to the lawsuit. But Mathis claims that by the time the state granted them, Walsh had filled the position.

Mathis alleged the actions were the result of “racial animus toward African Americans.”

But the Transportation Cabinet says in a July 15 court filing that its inspectors had questions about the company’s ownership in the summer of 2013 and needed more information before approving the certification.

It took 120 days for the state to issue the approvals – less than the 150 days required under federal regulations, according to court documents that also indicate there was no contract between Mathis and Walsh.

Mathis had claimed in the lawsuit that the Transportation Cabinet favored businesses owned by white women. But the state says Maureen Mathis was unable to cite any specific examples under questioning in a deposition.

Attorneys for Mathis have not responded to the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit. No ruling has been issued in the case.

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