COVINGTON -- Corporex Cos. Chairman Bill Butler is changing his testimony in the Kenton County bidding lawsuit, now saying he had full copies of his competitors' proposals.
Previously, Mr. Butler said he took several pages of notes during a private meeting at the home of then-Judge-executive Clyde Middleton. But he said he didn't recall taking the full proposals.
That meeting took place April 2, 1996, hours after the bids were opened by fiscal court and nearly a month before Corporex was selected over two other bidders to build a courthouse and parking garage. During that time, other developers got only limited access to competitors' proposals and were not given detailed financial information. Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson released a May 26 affidavit from Mr. Butler on Monday in which the developer changed his testimony from a May 20 deposition. Mr. Edmondson said he also has given a copy of the statement to the Kentucky attorney general's office, which is investigating the bidding.
Mr. Butler's access "allowed him to manipulate his bid and the process even further as we approached the awarding of the bid," Mr. Edmondson said Monday.
Attempts to reach Mr. Butler, his attorney and his company's spokesman for additional comment were unsuccessful Monday.
The county is suing Corporex and Mr. Butler to recoup an $850,000 settlement paid to the losing bidders -- Wessels Construction and Development Corp. and Carroll Properties.
Wessels and Carroll claimed Corporex had an upper hand in winning the $35.6 million contracts. The county accuses Mr. Butler of interfering in the bidding to get the projects.
Corporex denies any wrongdoing.
Mr. Butler said in the affidavit that research and discussions with his lawyer led him to change his testimony.
"Upon further recollection concerning my meeting with Judge-executive Clyde Middleton, and after further research and review of my analysis, I do now believe that Judge-executive Middleton did give me the bid packages that night, and that they were copied the next day and the originals were returned to Judge-executive Middleton's office in the Kenton County Courthouse." During the deposition May 20, Mr. Butler was asked several times about seeing competitors' bids and whether he made copies.
"It's been 2 1/2 years and, you know, to the best of my recollection, I didn't take them with me," he said.
At one point during the deposition, Mr. Edmondson showed Mr. Butler the competitors' proposals, the three volumes of which weigh more than 4 pounds and are 3 1/2 inches high.
Mr. Butler also reiterated in his affidavit that he thought the bids were a public record available for inspection and that he did nothing wrong and gained no unfair advantage.
Mr. Edmondson says the competitive advantage came when the three developers answered questions from the county and made changes in their bids and prices on May 14, 1996.
On that day, Corporex officials said their bid would cost about $1 million more than originally stated. The following day, the company's bid was resubmitted with $450,000 in additional costs. Mr. Edmondson said Mr. Butler made that change because he realized the additional amounts could have cost him the bid. "They simply ate those costs that they otherwise would have tacked on," he said.