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Dobco, Inc. v. Bergen Co. Improvement Auth.

New Jersey Appellate Division

July 8, 2021

In this case, the Bergen Co. Improvement Authority (BCIA) issued a request for qualifications (RFQ) which designated the general contractor for the project as the “redeveloper” and stated the BCIA would contract with the general contractor to provide goods and services for the rehabilitation of a courthouse. The redeveloper would be paid with public funds the BCIA obtained through the issuance and sale of bonds guaranteed by the County. In other words, unlike most redevelopment agreements, here, the “redeveloper” would be paid with public funds to provide goods and services to the BCIA that are typically subject to public bidding. These consolidated appeals required the New Jersey Appellate Division to decide whether the BCIA  may select a “redeveloper” without regard to the Local Public Contracts Law (LPCL). The Appellate Division reversed the lower court, holding that the express terms of the Local Redevelopment and Housing Law (LRHL) “do not anticipate a contract with a redeveloper like the one proposed by the RFQ in this case.”  Accordingly, the BCIA cannot avoid public bidding requirements for “goods or services” covered by the LPCL simply by cloaking itself in the rubric of a redevelopment entity under the LRHL and designating the general contractor for the project as a “redeveloper.”

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