Baltimore Officials Ban Major Contractor After Failing To Pay Small, Minority-owned Subcontractors

Exterior of Baltimore City Hall. Photo by Billy Wilson via Flickr.

What’s happening?

The Baltimore City Board of Estimates unanimously voted to ban Metra Industries from contracting with the city for the next two years after failing to make timely payments to Economic International Construction Company Inc., a Black-owned commercial construction company, Emily Hofstaedter reports for WYPR. The city’s spending arm also canceled an $8.4 million water infrastructure contract with Metra Industries, a New Jersey-based company.

What are the details of the dispute between the two contractors?

Christopher Lundy, chief of the Minority and Women’s Business Opportunity Office, testified to the board that Metra failed to pay or was late in paying a series of subcontractor invoices to the West Baltimore company, including one that was two years old. Metra is required by law to pay any subcontractors within seven days of being paid by the city for completed work. 

Lundy described Metra’s behavior as a “pattern” of “utter disregard” for small and minority-owned businesses. City officials estimate Metra still owes Economic International between $38,000 and $41,000. 

Anything else I should know? 

Metra has previously drawn criticism for failing to comply with the city’s women- and minority-owned business requirements, including from Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott when he was council president, Adam Willis reports for the Baltimore Banner. But Metra isn’t the only company at fault, as there are long-standing rumors that other large contractors have behaved similarly toward women- and minority-owned subcontractors in the city. 

You can read more here. 

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