Rialto board chair apologizes for not bidding out marquee work

The chairman of the board that oversees the Rialto Square Theatre apologized Feb. 27 for the board not bidding out the controversial marquee renovation work.

In a press release, Jim Smith, chairman of the Will County Metropolitan Exposition Auditorium Authority, said the board asked its legal counsel, Thomas Carey, to review its actions going back to 2005 when the subject of a new marquee was taken up for consideration.

He said the board requested Carey to look into the issue “to provide an answer to questions raised during the course of public discussion on the planned new Rialto marquee.  Specifically, those questions related to competitive bidding.”

After his research, Carey told the board it should have bid out the work since it was more than $10,000. Instead, he said, the board unanimously approved a contract with Landmark Sign Group on Sept. 24, 2014.  A contract was signed on Sept. 26, 2014, based on specifications and expenses developed in a 2007 Request for Proposals.

Not bidding out the project made the contract able to be voided, Carey said. However, since 75 percent of the marquee work is done, he said it is unlikely any court would void the contract unless there was fraud.

“The contract is enforceable as there was no fraud, abuse or insufficient value involved,” Smith wrote in the release. The WCMEAA should honor the contract.

“The WCMEAA Board of Directors sincerely regret that the time lag between the July 2007 Request for Proposal and the September 24, 2014 authorization to proceed with the new marquee project resulted in omission of the normal competitive bidding process.  It is our pledge to make sure that a misstep such as this shall not occur in the future.”

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