Bey firm awarded BART contract for up to $1 million
By Josh Richman, The Chauncey Bailey Project
BART has inked a half-million dollar contract — with options to double it later — with a longtime Your Black Muslim Bakery associate who has a checkered past in dealing with public money.
But the joint venture led by Nedir Bey’s Solar Eclipse Group was unable to provide required insurance, bond and license documentation by last Friday’s deadline, so the contract includes a clause that it will become effective only if Bey produces those documents by the close of business Wednesday.
Nedir Bey, 48, born Victor Rene Foster, was a confidante and “spiritually adopted” son of the late Yusuf Ali Bey, founder of Your Black Muslim Bakery. Once a respected community institution, the bakery has been linked to decades of various frauds, abuses of women and children, and violent episodes including several homicides.
Nedir Bey’s own history includes a $1.1 million Oakland city loan in 1996 that was never repaid and City Council campaign matching funds questionably raised and spent in 2002, all following a 1995 felony conviction from an incident in which he and cohorts attacked someone.
Reached by phone early Wednesday afternoon, Bey said he was in a meeting and couldn’t talk; he never called back.
Contract documents show Bey on Friday brought BART a new joint-venture agreement between Solar Eclipse; UWA Electric of Oakland, owned by Samuel Oghogho; and Dang Construction of Oakland, owned by Phon Cong Dang. The contract had to be signed before the project’s state grant funding expired Oct. 31, but state law requires that joint ventures be licensed before receiving a contract award. So, BART conditioned this contract upon Bey providing the license, as well as bond and insurance documentation, by 5 p.m. Nov. 12, or the contract is void.
Neither Bey nor Solar Eclipse hold contractor’s licenses, according to a state database; the license numbers that Bey listed in the contract documents belong to his joint-venture partners.
Solar Eclipse’s base contract is for $562,129 worth of work at the North Berkeley station; BART within six months can exercise its options for another $438,000 worth of work there. The work must be done within 180 days of BART approving Solar Eclipse’s detailed work plan.
LINC’s base contract for the 12th Street-City Center station is for $1,195,664, but BART already has exercised its options for $407,862 in additional work, for a total of $1,603,526. The work must be done within 130 days of BART approving LINC’s detailed work plan.
The events leading to the contract award began in September when Solar Eclipse bid on a contract for lighting and energy efficiency improvements at the 12th Street-Oakland City Center and North Berkeley stations. Bey’s initial bid was the lowest of three and the only one under BART engineers’ estimate for the job, but included outdated information; Bey says he never received updated information that BART staff members say they e-mailed to all bidders. The project was reworked and rebid; LINC Lighting & Electrical Group of San Jose was the low bidder and the only one under the in-house estimate, so BART staff members recommended LINC get the contract.
But directors Lynette Sweet, Carole Ward Allen and Bob Franklin refused at their Oct. 22 meeting, blaming BART staff members for letting the bid process get so close to an Oct. 31 funding deadline and for letting a paperwork error foul up a low bid from a minority-owned local small business.
Berated by Bey and several of his supporters, most of whom cited BART’s often-rocky relations with minority contractors, the board finally voted 8-0 to split the contract between LINC and Solar Eclipse with the total base-contract costs not to exceed the project’s $2 million funding limit.
Reach Josh Richman at email@example.com.