First Posted: 12/17/2009
Conflict surrounds a bid by the local granite quarry for providing granite for the National September 11 Memorial to a company which has not been awarded the contract for setting the stone.
Last Friday, North Carolina Granite Corp. of Mount Airy reported that its bid to provide the granite needed for the project was rejected in an e-mail from Port Morris Tile & Marble Corp. But a spokeswoman for the National September 11 Memorial Committee said Port Morris has not been awarded the contract for the project.
Lynn Rasic, senior vice president of public affairs with the National September 11 Memorial, said the contract for the granite portion of the project will not be awarded until January.
We havent awarded a contract, she said. We had three complete responses, all of the prime contractors are New York-based.
She said the organization did not receive a direct bid from North Carolina Granite Corp., but it was included with one of the three contractors being considered. She did say that Port Morris is one of the three finalists. She said one of the three could be picked, or all of the bids could be rejected.
Architects and designers of the memorial have decided to use a green granite, which is not available in the United States. Rasic said that although the granite is being referred to as green, the granite only has sort of green flecks running through the predominantly gray stone.
She said a final decision on whether to use Canadian granite or African granite will not be made until the contractor is announced in January.
Carlos Goad, vice president of human relations from North Carolina Granite Corp., said in a Thursday afternoon phone interview that the company received an e-mail from Port Morris Tile & Marble Corp. saying it had not been chosen for the job. He said he also hoped that the news from the National September 11 Memorial spokeswoman was correct.
Well, I hope they are right what weve heard is different from that. Port Morris Tile, the stone setter, said they will be setting the stone, Goad said.
We sent [Port Morris] an e-mail to a Mr. Pat Barrett from our president [William Swift] saying, Hello Pat, Jonathan told me late Friday that Bovis was instructed by the owner in a meeting Friday morning to purchase the Verde Fontaine (granite) from Africa in lieu of Laurentian Green (granite), is this true? The response from Mr. Barrett was, Yes, we were fully released to purchase the material as directed. We already have shop drawings done. I called John five minutes after they called me, Goad read.
According to the Port Morris Web site, Patrick Barrett is the president of the company. When called for a phone interview, The News was redirected to the companys Chief Financial Officer Frank Juramich. He did not return a phone call from The News Thursday afternoon. An e-mail inquiry from The News to Pat Barrett was not answered either.
A spokeswoman for Bovis Lend Lease said the company is the general contractor of the project, but is not in charge of hiring the stone setter. She did say, however, that the company has used Port Morris in past jobs.
Goad said the company has contacted its district and state representative in Washington, D.C., to try to effect a change. He contends that a monument built to honor of those who were killed in the worst terrorist attack in the United States should be built by American companies.
Both Fifth District Congresswoman Virginia Foxx and Sen. Richard Burr have spoken out about the decision to have granite shipped in from overseas.
Goad said the local granite quarry will lose $5 million in revenue if it does not get the bid. The job would provide the 135 employees two years of work. If the company does not get the nod, there is a chance that some jobs might be cut.
Our president says that there is a possibility that we might have to. He didnt say We will. You can never make those sorts of statements until it comes to the point of having to do something, Goad said.
He still claimed that Port Morris is saying that it has won the bid to set the stone for the National September 11 Memorial.
Rasic, the memorial spokeswoman, said the September 11 Memorial is being overseen by the Port Authority of New York City and although the project is a non-profit endeavor, some of the money for the memorial does come from the federal government. She said that Bovis is not in charge of awarding the bids, but is in charge of managing all of the sub-contractors during the course of the project.
Contact Mondee Tilley at [email protected] or at 719-1930.v