August 20, 2014
Waste Management Inc. has filed a lawsuit against the city of Oakland for contracting with a competitor for waste and recycling pickup, a contract worth $1 billion.
The Houston-based Waste Management Inc. said in the suit filed in Alameda County Superior Court that the city did not follow its procurement process, the company confirmed in an e-mail. The suit claims that the Oakland City Council late in the process steered the 10-year contract to the Oakland-based California Waste Solutions Inc., a company with which it has personal and political connections. Other city officials believed Waste Management was better qualified to handle the contract, Waste Management said.
California Waste Solutions, the suit said, had not held a waste-hauling contract in the United States, did not follow city procedures and received confidential information about Waste Management.
The suit asks the court to overturn the decision and effectively award the contract to Waste Management.
Alex Katz, chief of staff for the Oakland City Attorney’s Office, says the city hasn’t received the suit and so can’t make a statement on the allegations.
When Oakland City Council unanimously approved the contract, the city said it was facing a rate increase of almost 50 percent. The contract with California Waste Solutions likely would keep the increase to just below 27 percent.
“This contract is a triple win: it marks a great leap forward for an Oakland-grown company, makes historic reductions in our landfill use, and most importantly, dramatically reduces the rate increases our residents were facing,” Mayor Jean Quan said in a news release at the time of the council approval.
Waste Management of Alameda County, along with its predecessor Oakland Scavenger, has collected waste in Oakland for more than 100 years.