By Frank Parlato;
THE STATE CONTRACT FROM HELL
Last week we began the story of Bhavesh H. Kamdar, a civil engineer from western India.
This week we continue the story. Kamdar came to America in 1988, at age 22, settled in western New York, met his wife, Panna, and, in 1996, they had a son. He mistakenly thought he would pursue the American Dream.
After working for other companies for a time, he started Industrial Site Services, Inc. (ISS), and, in Dec. 1997, his company won its first (and last) state contract, to remove and remediate underground petroleum tanks on New York State property in western New York. Thus began Kamdar’s American Nightmare.
New York State was under a mandate to clean up old petroleum pumps and Kamdar’s bid was nearly a million dollars lower than the next lowest bidder. It should have worked out well.
But, a simple line item on his $4.9 million bid would lead Kamdar to disaster. It was a $500,000 “guarantee fee” – the cost, he claimed, for getting a bond to insure New York State against loss in the event ISS defaulted on the contract.
This “guarantee fee” and especially Kamdar’s subsequent use of the word ‘collateral’, was the genesis of his nine years of legal sorrow.