« PreviousContinue »
Mr. Lawton. Mr. Strobel told me that he would arrange to have Mr. Petroff in my office the following morning.
Mr. MALETZ. Vid Mr. Strobel call Mr. Petroff in your presence?
Now, is it normal procedure for the Public Buildings Service to consider only one architect for a project!
Mr. LAWTON. No, it is not normal procedure, but this job was not a normal procedure, either.
Mr. MALETZ. This was the very first job, was it not, that the Public Buildings Service had to give to a private architect?
Mr. LAWTON. It was the very first job I had had with a private architect since I was in that position.
Mr. MALETZ. And how long had you been in that position ?
Mr. MalETz. In other words, you had been in that position for 4 years prior to August 26, 1954
Mr. LAWTON. That is correct.
Mr. MALETZ. Now, did Mr. Strobel indicate to you that he would call the James King & Son Construction Co. and have a representative from that company in your office the next morning?
Mr. LAWTON. We discussed the construction project on this work, which would have to go along with the design work. They would have to work together. And I suggested to Mr. Strobel that James King & Son would be a good firm for that. They were interested in the job.
Mr. MALËTZ. And what did Mr. Strobel say? Mr. LAWTON. He agreed with me. Mr. Scott. So the suggestion came from you, then, with regard to King ?
Mr. LAWTON. I believe it did, sir.
Mr. SCOTT. And you had asked for the suggestion with regard to Petroff?
Mr. LAWTON. Yes. I was not acquainted with any architects in New York.
Mr. SCOTT. Therefore, did you receive the suggestion of Petroff as in any way an order to you which would preclude the use of your judgment if you decided that you did not approve of Mr. Petroff or did not feel that he met the qualifications required?
Mr. LAWTON. No. I did not construe it as an order to me. I discussed the work with Mr. Petroff and reviewed some of the work that he had done and found that in my opinion he was satisfactory to consider for this particular project.
Mr. Scott. And some of this work had to be done over a weekend, I believe you said !
Mr. LAWTON. That is right. Time was an important factor in this job and influenced my decision.
Mr. MALETZ. Mr. Lawton, Mr. Strobel is your boss, is he not?
Mr. MALETZ. And I take it a recommendation from Mr. Strobel would have considerable weight with you?
Mr. LAWTON. I knew that Mr. Strobel was well acquainted with affairs in New York City. Mr. Strobel is a technical boss to me. I am under the administrative supervision of the regional director in New York.
Mr. MALETZ. Would it have been possible for the Public Buildings Service architects themselves to have drawn the plans and specifications for 70 Columbus Avenue?
Mr. LAWTON. It would have been possible, except that I had not the manpower available in my office at that time, and there was no way possible to put my men on the job and complete it within the specified time interval.
Mr. MALETZ. Now, you say that you gave out 2 jobs in New York City to architects in the 5 years that you have been with the Service in New York City. What was the second job?
Mr. LAWTON. The second job was for alterations at 201 Varick Street in New York City, and the job was awarded to Chapman, Evans & Delehanty.
Mr. MALETZ. Did Mr. Strobel participate in the award of the contract to Chapman, Evans & Delehanty?
Mr. LAWTON. No.
Mr. MALETZ. Were you familiar with the fact that Chapman, Evans & Delehanty was a client of Strobel & Salzman?
Mr. LAWTON. Not at that time, not until this morning.
What procedure, what steps did you take to retain Chapman, Evans & Delehanty?
Mr. LAWTON. When that project came up, I had the Assistant Division Chief of my Construction and Repair Division prepare a list of five architectural firms for my consideration.
Mr. MALETZ. Do you recall who those architectural firms were?
Mr. LAWTON. Yes. There was Lorimer & Rich; York & Sawyer; Koeppel & Koeppel; Chapman, Evans & Delehanty; and Serge Petroff.
Mr. MALETZ. You were not familiar, I take it, with the fact that 2 of these 5 were clients of Strobel & Salzman?
Mr. LAWTON. Not at that time; no.
Mr. MALETZ. Were you familiar with the fact that the third architectural firm, York & Sawyer, was a firm with which Strobel & Salzman had been negotiating for business?
Mr. LAWTON. No, I was not familiar with that.
Mr. MALETZ. You were not. Now, did Chapman, Evans & Delehanty submit the lowest proposal ?
Mr. LAWTON. No; they did not. I interviewed each of the firms individually, explained the work to them, and asked them for a price. I asked for a lump-sum price. Later in discussions with my central office here in Washington, they questioned my procedure there, in that I was tending toward competition between architectural firms in the way I had handled that job. They said that I should acquaint myself with several firms, determine which one was best qualified to do that particular job, and discuss with that firm the project and a price.
At that point, I discussed the results we had had with the five firms with the Division Chief of my C. and R. Division, and with the regional director. We felt that Serge Petroff, having done a job for us at 70 Columbus Avenue, should not further be considered, and limited it to the remaining firms. We then picked Chapman, Evans & Delehanty, and had him come in and discussed with him a price for
the work. He agreed to a price which we felt was reasonable for the job, and the contract was awarded to him.
Mr. MALETZ. Now, Mr. Lawton, I show you a document purporting to be an architect's bid summary for 201 Varick Street, and ask you to tell us whether or not your office prepared that bid summary.
Mr. LAWTON. Yes; I prepared that.
Mr. MALETZ. On the basis of that summary, would you not say that actually Chapman, Evans & Delehanty was the high bidder?
Mr. LAWTON. I glanced over that hurriedly.
Mr. LAWTON. I will say that they insisted upon submitting a percentage price on the estimated cost of construction.
Mr. FINE. I am sorry. There was an interruption by counsel at the time, and I did not get the first part of your answer.
Mr. LAWTON. Chapman, Evans & Delehanty submitted a percentage fee based on the estimated construction cost. In my discussions with the firms, I had asked for a lump-sum price, not a percentage figure.
Mr. MALETZ. On the basis of-
Mr. MALETZ. May I interject this question. On the basis of the figures that you have before you, percentage figures, is it or is it not correct that Chapman, Evans & Delehanty had submitted the high bid?
Mr. LAWTON. That is difficult to answer yes or no, sir, for this reason. They submitted a fee of 6 percent of the construction cost.
Mr. MALETZ. The architect's estimated construction cost?
Mr. STROBEL. Mr. Chairman, I do not think that question is quite clear. I think we should have a clarification of what figure, on what basis the 6 percent is taken.
Mr. MALETZ. May I suggest that Mr. Lawton explain the architects' bid summary and indicate whether or not Chapman, Evans & Delehanty was or was not the high bidder on the basis of architect's estimated cost.
Mr. FINE. Or any basis.
Mr. LAWTON. Petroff submitted a fee which, on a percentage basis, was 5.74 percent of my estimate and 5.3 percent of his own estimate. Lorimer & Rich submitted a fee of 6.46 percent of my estimate and 5.46 percent on their estimate. York & Sawyer submitted 7.61 percent of my estimate and 5.9 percent on their estimate. Delehanty submitted 6 percent of construction cost.
Mr. MALETZ. And what would that be? Of their estimated construction cost ?
Mr. LAWTON. Yes.
Mr. LAWTON. I said, “Yes.” That is kind of hard to say. Their statement was 6 percent of construction cost, without amplifying
whether that was based on my estimate or on some estimate that they would make.
Mr. Malerz. They did not make it clear in their proposal ? Mr. LAWTON. They did not make it clear. Mr. MALETZ. Why, then, was Chapman, Evans & Delehanty selected when their proposal was confusing and under one interpretation their proposal was the highest of the five?
Mr. LAWTON. Well, the selection of 1 of those 3 was—it is kind of difficult to explain. There was no real reason for selecting anyone. We just picked 1 of those 3. I cannot explain it any more in detail than that.
Mr. MALETz. Did you keep Mr. Strobel advised as to the progress of these negotiations!
Mr. LAWTON. I kept Mr. Strobel advised on this job. It is a big job, running about $1 million. He was advised in a routine manner that I was consulting with these firms in an effort to get a contract for the design work.
Mr. MALETZ. Well, you must have used some basis of selection. I believe Mr. Strobel indicated it was the procedure to have a rating board to rate the qualifications, and so forth, of various architects. Wasn't there some rationale as to why you selected Chapman, Evans & Delehanty?
Mr. LAWTON. Lorimer & Rich, York & Sawyer, and Delehanty are equal as far as qualifications are concerned. Mr. MALETZ, I take it they are all excellent architectural firms? Mr. LAWTON. They are all excellent architects. Mr. MALETZ. What was your basis? Mr. LAWTON. It was just an eeny, meeny, miney, mo basis.
Mr. KEATING. Did Mr. Strobel in any way indicate to you, in words or substance or in any manner, that he would like to have this contract awarded to this Evans, Delehanty firm?
Mr. LAWTON. No. I had no communications with Mr. Strobel concerning any one of these firms or any discussions with him concerning any one of these firms.
Mr. KEATING. And so far as
Mr. STROBEL. Mr. Chairman, I would like to say this, that Mr. Lawton inferred that he kept me advised in a routine way. But as far as the selection of architects for this project, I want to say that I did not know about the selection until 3, 4, or 5 weeks after it had been made, and I had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Mr. KEATING. Did you know even what architects were being considered ?
Mr. STROBEL. I did not know.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Lawton, there is another thing which stands out here, the conversation about Mr. Petroff in another connection with another matter. Now, Mr. Petroff was one of the bidders in this job; was he not?
Mr. LAWTON. That is right.
Mr. Scott. And did you receive any instructions or suggestions from Mr. Strobel pertaining to Mr. Petrotf ?
Mr. LAWTON. I am sorry. I did not hear the first part.
Mr. Scott. Did you receive any instruction or suggestion from Mr. Strobel pertaining to Mr. Petroff on this job?
Mr. LAWTON. No, sir; I did not.
The CHAIRMAN. But you did
Mr. SCOTT. I have just one last question, and then I am through, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes.
Mr. KEATING. In other words, you felt in your own thinking on it that he had had a Government contract for a job, and that for that reason someone else should be considered here, even though his work was satisfactory?
Mr. LAWTON. That is correct. Of all these firms, they are all about equal in qualifications and capabilities, and I saw no reason to give Petroff another job when the firms were equal with him.
Mr. FINE. Are you now telling us that it was just a coincidence that the Chapman firm was picked from the other three?
Mr. LAWTON. Yes, sir.
Mr. LAWTON. They were all equal. There was no way of weeding out any two of those by saying they were less capable of doing the job than the remaining ones.
Mr. RODINO. Had they received any contracts before that?
Mr. MALETZ. I offer in evidence, Mr. Chairman, the architects' bid summary prepared by the New York office of the Public Building Service.
The CHAIRMAN. Yes. That is received in evidence. (The bid summary referred to is as follows:)
1 Architect's fee divided by region 2 estimate.
Based on the architectural fee limitation of 6 percent of the estimated construction cost, as specified in Public Law 152, the maximum architectural fee permissible for these alterations is $41,790.
Mr. FINE. I assumed that Mr. Scott was going to ask the same question about this one.
Mr. Scott. Yes. I was awaiting the opportunity.
Did you have any interest in the profits, direct or indirect, of the Delehanty firm in this job?