OJ's, Razorclean Kick Up Dirt After Losing Bid Leads to Lawsuits

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Jul. 7, 2014 12:00 am  

(Photo of Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department by Wil Chandler) | (Photo of Madre Hill by AP/Laurie Driver) | (Photo of Cubby Hole from Google Street View)

(A correction has been made to this article. See end for details.)

Losing a bid in February to clean the headquarters of the Arkansas Highway & Transportation Department didn’t sit well with Charles Hinson.

Hinson, the owner of O.J.’s Service Two Inc. of North Little Rock, lost the contract to clean the 11-floor, approximately 110,000-SF building and other Highway Department properties when Razorclean Maids Inc. of North Little Rock, which is owned by former Arkansas Razorback Madre Hill, came in with a bid of $380,000.

O.J.’s had submitted the second-lowest bid at $439,847, said Randy Ort, a spokesman for the AHTD. The department received two other bids, which were more than $560,000, he said.

After losing the bid, though, Hinson, who has a history of being litigious, launched his own investigation into Razorclean.

Hinson not only hired a private investor but he grilled Razorclean’s clients that were listed in the bid in an attempt to uncover evidence that should have disqualified Razorclean from being eligible to participate in the bid process.

When Hill learned of the investigation, he filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court on Feb. 28 accusing Hinson and O.J.’s of interfering with Razorclean’s contract. Razorclean also wanted a restraining order to stop O.J.’s and Hinson from contacting Razorclean’s customers that were listed as references in the Highway Department bid. The parties settled the restraining order section of the lawsuit on June 23.

O.J.’s and Hinson agreed to a prohibition on harassing the Razorclean customers listed on the bid. The lawsuit over the allegations of interfering with a contract is moving forward, however.

Meanwhile, O.J.’s took his alleged evidence that Razorclean didn’t meet the requirements to win the bid to the Highway Department. When it didn’t reverse its decision about the contract, O.J.’s went to Pulaski County Circuit Court and petitioned a judge to void the contract with Razorclean and award it to O.J.’s.

Razorclean’s attorney, Tré Kitchens of Little Rock, told Arkansas Business in March that “My client didn’t do anything wrong. … Our position is we followed the law. … And O.J.’s has gone to great lengths to impugn us and we’ve got litigation pending about that.”

Razorclean isn’t a party in the case involving O.J.’s and the Highway Department.

The attorney for the Highway Department said in its court filings that the case should be tossed out because the Highway Department has sovereign immunity. In addition, “O.J.’s is not merely requesting this Court to order the Highway Department to take some simple, ministerial step,” Regina Haralson, assistant attorney general, said in her motion to dismiss. “O.J.’s asks the Court to Order AHTD to void one contract and execute another contract with O.J.’s. O.J.’s has cited no statute or other authority that would require the Department to so act.”

 

 

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