Down in Florida, CH2M Hill and AECOM Technical Services were vying for the billion dollar project. CH2M Hill and AECOM submitted their proposal in the spring of 2013. CH2M Hill then submitted materials directly to county official prior to its August presentation. CH2M Hill was awarded the project.

AECOM cried foul, claiming that CH2M Hill violated local rules when it submitted materials directly to county officials. The county’s ethics chief cleared CH2M Hill of any wrongdoing, but the mayor decided that bidding irregularities mandated an additional round of presentations before a newly assembled panel. This new panel decided that AECOM should be awarded the project.

CH2M Hill then started its torrent of claims, arguing that AECOM misled the county about its experience. The county investigated CH2M Hill’s claims and found that 14 of 15 were without merit. The county is now finalizing the details of the project with AECOM.

I don’t profess to know what happened at the county level and whether CH2M Hill violated the county’s rules by providing materials directly to county officials. All I do know is that CH2M Hill had the project in hand, was embroiled in an ethics investigation over whether it violated local rules, and then lost the project after the mayor demanded a new review panel because of bidding irregularities in the first go round. Maybe CH2M Hill’s conduct did not violate the rules, but it was close enough to the line to make the county reconsider its bid. How close to the line is your company getting? Could your conduct cost you a bid?