• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Two Candidates For Major Energy Deal With LSU Do Not Have Contractor Licenses, Board Says | New

The two entities vying for a lucrative long-term contract to power LSU’s energy systems do not both have a contractor’s license, the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors said on Tuesday, inflicting another setback on the supervisory board. of LSU, which has already missed a self-imposed deadline to sign an agreement within 90 days of a meeting at the end of the summer.

The executive director of the board said on Tuesday that neither Tiger Energy Partners – a joint venture between Bernhard Energy Solutions and Johnson Controls, Inc. – nor the Canadian company Enwave Energy Corp. were not licensed “in accordance with its legal entity name”. These two companies are the only options on the table to provide energy services to LSU since last year, when the supervisory board decided it would negotiate directly with the two entities for a massive energy deal valued at over $ 800 million over decades.

After a tumultuous year on the LSU campus, an effort to modernize the energy systems that the university pays $ 32 million a year to power …

The choice to negotiate directly with these two companies has largely excluded the public from the process. LSU has not released the solicitation for the energy deal, so it is not clear whether LSU has specified that companies must have contractor licenses in Louisiana to perform the work.

But Michael McDuff, executive director of the State Licensing Board for Contractors, said Tuesday it’s important to have a contractor’s license in Louisiana. He emailed members of the Supervisory Board on Tuesday morning to let them know he had received formal complaints about the process.

“Anyone who ultimately builds the facilities described in the LSU proposal, which we have neither received nor reviewed, would most likely need a contractor’s license under our bylaws,” McDuff wrote. “The decision as to the selection of the contractor is not within the authority of this office and should be determined by the contracting authority.”

Louisiana will strike a complex deal that could lead to the widespread privatization of energy systems in state agencies and universities …

McDuff added that he had found no reason to issue citations to either company so far. But he said the board will continue to monitor the energy project as it moves forward to ensure compliance with licensing laws.

Tiger Energy Partners – which Bernhard and Johnson Controls trained specifically to work on the LSU project – filed a complaint about the lack of a license from Enwave in Louisiana late last year. Perhaps the move would have cleared the ground for them. But it didn’t quite work out that way: While Bernhard LLC and Johnson Controls each have separate licenses from the state licensing board, their new joint venture does not.

Bernhard Energy director Jim Bernhard, who sits atop a vast network of companies under Bernhard Capital, is one of the state’s most influential Democratic political donors. Bernhard is a major supporter of Governor John Bel Edwards, who sought to appoint him to an open seat on the supervisory board six months ago.

Bernhard declined the position without explanation, but the position would have prevented his companies from receiving contracts like the energy deal.

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Two months later, LSU began negotiating with the two companies, despite advice given by KPMG consultants at a board meeting in September 2020, that the university should go through a process of standard public tender. KPMG had attracted the interest of many companies who were able to bid, and warned that without a project submission, LSU could end up with a bad deal.

When LSU police investigated allegations in 2018 that a football player mistreated the tennis player he was dating, several witnesses told …

“Could you make a deal?” Asked Iain Tester, one of KPMG’s consultants advising the board. “The short answer is yes, if you turn around and accept the proposal on the table.”

Despite KPMG’s advice, the supervisory board voted to engage in a 90-day negotiation period with the two companies, both of which already had cooperation agreements with LSU.

Enwave provides energy services at LSU Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Another joint venture of Bernhard and Johnson Controls, called Louisiana Energy Partners, provides energy services to the Shaw Center for the Arts and other public buildings.

Louisiana's new deal with Bernhard and Johnson Controls could lead to widespread energy privatization

Louisiana is preparing to strike a complex deal with a company controlled in part by Bernhard Energy Solutions, based in Baton Rouge, which could …

“If we don’t get to a deal in 90 days, we automatically go back to the public procurement process,” James Williams, LSU board member and New Orleans lawyer, said at the conference. September meeting.

That did not happen – LSU neither entered into a deal nor returned to a public tendering process after exceeding the 90-day period, which expired earlier this month. Governor John Bel Edwards recently held a private meeting with some members of the board to discuss the negotiations, a spokeswoman confirmed. Edwards reiterated “what he’s always told them is to do what’s in the best interests of the university and the state,” said director of communications Shauna Sanford.

An LSU board member asked on Friday if the university could consider severing its relationship with Rouses supermarkets over this…

“The 90 days have expired, but the process is longer and more complicated than we thought,” said Robert Dampf, chairman of the board.

Consultants and LSU staff warned board members at the September meeting that if they failed to secure a deal through direct negotiations, they risked “chilling the market” if they later choose to launch a public offering.


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