Chauncey Bailey Project

Bey firm awarded BART contract for up to $1 million

Nedir Bey speaks to the BART Board of Directors Oct. 22, 2009. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)
Nedir Bey speaks to the BART Board of Directors Oct. 22, 2009. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)

Nedir Bey speaks to the BART Board of Directors Oct. 22, 2009. (D. Ross Cameron/Staff)

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

One response to “Bey firm awarded BART contract for up to $1 million”

  1. Erich Hayner says:

    Idiots. We are idiots. We will do anything, anything, anything at all to avoid the accusation, even from other idiots, that we are racists. God forbid that we should have to face the stern stentorian voice of Katherine Hepburn roundly and soundly condemning us for our Neanderthal legacy as in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?”; Or is it that we fear being hailed and buffooned by our fellow citizens as the new up and coming Archie Bunker? Are we afraid, if we aren’t like those sycophants who nervously orbit bullies, that the idiots might turn on us for standing up to them and simply saying, “Race has nothing to do with this issue. I am not, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be the racist who you seem to want me to be. The racists who tortured you and left the unhealed scars that some of you still know first hand- those racist men and women have gone and I don’t know who they were or where they went. But I know I am not them. I may look like them, but to assume that I’m racist because my skin is white is, well…racist. In fact, as a man aged fifty, I’ve been the target of some very violent experiences that were overtly racist, committed by Black people who openly admitted it was because of the color of my skin. When I was a young man, I was dragged down an alley by more than two dozen people who wanted to have some fun with “whitey”. I was tortured. Just because I passed the wrong playground at the wrong time. In the ensuing twenty-nine years, I have yet to meet a Black man my age who has had a similar experience, and I’ve asked around, believe me.
    I deserve to be a racist, I have every right to be one, I earned it with every beating that I took back then, and there’s a lot of people who would go that way I guess. But you do know? I’m not. I admire African American culture and I’ve lived in and around integrated neighborhoods my entire life. Why? The only racists that I ever met don’t know a damn thing about the folks they hate, and that’s what makes them idiots. When people get so caught up in their self constructed worlds, that they no longer have even any common vocabulary to confer rationally with others on the outside their own, it’s not stupid, Stupid, it’s idiotic, and we’re idiots for putting up with this obvious conman, Nedir Bey.

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