Court's low bidder can't bid for public projects in Mass.

CONCORD – The recommended firm to build a new Merrimack District Court is suspended from bidding on public work in Massachusetts after allegations that it falsified information.

TLT Construction Corp. of Wakefield, Mass., was the low bidder of nine firms that competed to build the 24,000 square foot court space.

The $4.3 million came well under the department’s $5.4 million budget for the work. The New Hampshire Legislature had in 2007 approved spending up to $7 million on the project.

But the firm has faced a variety of administrative charges in its home state. The Massachusetts Department of Capital Asset Management moved to decertify the company for 18 months, claiming the firm falsified or filed incomplete bid applications on at least three public high school construction projects.

State officials here declined to comment when asked if TLT had to inform New Hampshire public construction reviewers that it had faced sanctions in Massachusetts.Executive Councilor Debora Pignatelli, D-Nashua, said that should be a prerequisite to getting a construction award here.

“That’s a question that always should be asked if it isn’t being done now,” Pignatelli said during a telephone interview.

“I want us to be very careful about how we go about voting on this project because the court in Merrimack is very important to that town,” Pignatelli added.

The bids submitted ranged from $4.3 million to $5 million.

While the new court is under construction, the state is asking the council to approve up to a two-year extension for the court to remain in Merrimack Town Hall space.

Massachusetts officials banned TLT from public bid work after the state’s attorney general conducted an investigation into past construction documents.

DCAM officials have said that a tip in April 2008 sparked the probe, the allegation being TLT may have falsified information on its application in 2007 to build a Hyannis Youth Center on Cape Cod.

“The state of New Hampshire shouldn’t be awarding work to a company that had been drummed out of Massachusetts for a while like it was,” said Joseph Saracino, an organizer with the Laborers International Union in Boston.

“The allegations down here were that the company was not truthful on its bid applications. I’d be checking that New Hampshire paperwork very carefully.”

Attempts to reach TLT officials for comment Monday were not successful.

Merrimack officials had sought the new court after concluding the town-owned space for court employees and the public had become too cramped and was unsafe.

The new building will be made of steel frame and include brick and masonry facing.

After the legislature approved spending the money to build the court, some town officials balked at the state’s request for Merrimack to deed some land for the court project to the state.

Ultimately, local and state officials came to an agreement on the property.