Richard’s Disposal suing the City of Jackson; Council attorney calls lawsuit laughable

Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 10:49 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - For nearly a year, workers with Richard’s Disposal could be seen collecting and picking up trash all throughout the Capital City.

The city council agreed to go into a one-year emergency contract with the company. When it comes to a long-term contract, the council has voted that down multiple times. As a result, the New Orleans-based company is now filing a lawsuit against the city.

The company is accusing the city of denying them a rightful bid.

Richard’s is asking that the council’s decision be overturned and that the contract be awarded to them. The company believes it’s the most qualified and that council members violated legal requirements during this process.

”The Council’s decision was arbitrary and capricious as it violates clear statutory requirements,” the lawsuit states. “Richard’s is also entitled to compensatory damages for losses it has sustained or would have earned had the contract been awarded properly.”

According to the nine-page lawsuit, the garbage company accuses the city council of trying to force the mayor to select another company.

”The Council violated statutory authority by disapproving the contract for Richard’s in an attempt to usurp the executive function of the Mayor and exercise that function by forcing him to select its preferred rather than the vendor chosen by the Mayor as required by governing law,” the lawsuit reads.

However, DeShun Martin, who represents the city council, said the garbage company doesn’t have a strong argument.

”Suing the city for not giving you a contract is laughable,” Martin expressed. He says there’s no law making it mandatory that the city council awards the garbage contract to Richard’s Disposal.

The attorney said the council has the right to vote down any contract that’s presented to them. That’s why he doesn’t believe this argument will hold up in court.

”The council has its legislative prerogative to look at cost, lowest, best bid, plus cost of services rendered to the municipality. Those elements go into the equation, and then the council says this is what we decide based on the elements that go into the equation,” said Martin. “The council has voted “no” on Richard’s using that equation. For you to sue the city over never getting a contract is a waste of taxpayers’ funds, and it should not be happening, but it is. We will litigate and win again.”

As of Tuesday, there’s no one responsible for picking up garbage in the Capital City. During a special called meeting on Wednesday, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba is expected to ask the council to approve a one-year emergency contract with Richard’s Disposal.

Council President Ashby Foote said he won’t support that measure but would support a 90-day emergency contract. That meeting is scheduled for tomorrow afternoon at one o’clock inside city hall.

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