Monday, July 13, 2020

Who Will Bring the Booze?

Who will bring the booze?, that t'is the question in a Hinds County Chancery Court.  Two companies are fighting over the right to deliver wine and liquor from the ABC warehouse to customers in the Jackson metro area.  One company sued in Hinds County Chancery Court just a few days before Department of Revenue Commissioner Herb Frierson suddenly resigned. 

The Department of Revenue hires private contractors to deliver wine and liquor from its warehouse to package stores.   M&J Transport and Douglas Express Delivery have swapped the contract back and forth over the last twelve years. M&J earned $1.1 million in revenue in 2020 from DOR. 

The delivery contract expired this year and as expected, Douglas and M&J submitted bids. The term of the new contract is July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2024.  DOR awarded the contract to Douglas on March 12 and that is where the fun began.

M&J protested the decision.  However, Commissioner Herb Frierson moved forward with awarding the contract to Douglas on an "emergency" basis even though M&J was entitled to an appeal.  The Commissioner said the hearing would be postponed due to the Covid-19 virus shutdown.  M&J argued it should have been allowed to keep the contract until it exhausted its appeal.

M&J filed an emergency petition as well as a request for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on June 30 in Hinds County Chancery Court.  Commissioner Frierson resigned on June 30.  

M&J cited some history in defense of its claim.  Douglas won the contract in 2008.  M&J won in 2012 but Douglas protested.  DOR allowed Douglas to operate under the expired contract until the protested was adjudicated three months later.  Douglas lost the appeal. M&J won the contract again in 2016 but yet again, Douglas protested.  DOR ruled against Douglas at the hearing.

M&J claimed this was the first time DOR went forward with a new contract while the award was under protest.  M&J never received notice to appear before the Public Procurement Review Board.  M&J argues DOR should follow the expired contract until the protest is adjudicated.

The petition also accuses DOR of awarding the contract without performing due diligence.  

17. The following clearly outlines the grounds for our protest to the contract award made to for Request for Proposal #3120001910 on March 10, 2020 . M & J TRANSPORT, IN C., demands that the 20 points awarded the other company in the Technical Factor were awarded improperly and in correctly, specifically the 4 points in the 3rd question (Does the offeror document a record of reliability in shipping and delivering alcoholic beverages in a timely manner?). According to M & J TRANSPORT, INC., customers, daily, and many testimonials received from them, this was not the case. They were not reliable, offered poor customer service and had little to no customer communications . The other company should not have received any points in this section. Attached, encompassed, and included herein as Exhibit '·E" is evidence of customer testimonials....

20. In the next question (Does the offeror have a record of supporting a history of the quality of the hauling services provide?), the other company was awarded 7 points when, once again, they do not have a reliable track record for hauling liquor or any other hauling services. It states in the Request for Proposal that THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE would do their due diligence and vet the proposer outside of the information supplied to them. ....
One ABC customer stated in an exhibit attached to the complaint:

Philip  always made sure we had all our breakage that his drivers were responsible for taken care  of with in the month.   We always get our order at a convenient time of the day  and our driver Is one of the best .
I  was dis-satisfied  with other transport  company  we had for the 4 years as they were never on time, we got our orders after 5 P.M. a lot  of times, they always had lots of breakage, and were never on time to  pick up mistakes and I was unhappy with that company  from day one. If  I  remember correctly  it  was DED.
while another said:

Knowing that the contract is up for renewal, we wholeheartedly offer our support for M&J Trucking  to continue handling all of our deliveries. The only times that these requirements have not been met were during the period that M&J did not have the contract. During that time breakage was at an all time high, communication with the company was terrible and their delivery times were  inconsistent. We understand that the task itself is a bear to keep a handle on. In our experience, there's only been one company that has what it takes to wrestle that bear, and it's M&J Trucking.
M&J asked the Chancellor to issue a temporary restraining order against DOR and hold a hearing on its request for an injunction.

Phil Pollock owns M&J while Andy Williams and Debbie Walters own Douglas.  The case is assigned to Chancellor Denise Owens.

The contracts are not available on DFA's website.  JJ submitted a public records request for the contracts.   The amount of the contracts is not known.

 Kingfish note: Hmm..... new delivery service (but not inexperienced as it previously held the contract) takes over on July 1 and suddenly there are problems delivering alcohol.... after the Commissioner threw due process to the wind and gave it to Douglas on an emergency basis.  Where have we seen this before?






31 comments:

Anonymous said...

Which lucky judge gets this one?

Anonymous said...

As I have said before. Where is Shad and why hasn’t he looked into the improprieties and corruption and no telling what else at this state agency? And why are we just now hearing about Frierson suddenly exiting on June 30 and it is now July 13? Who is in trouble? Who is hiding something? Who is taking over? Another corrupt individual?

Anonymous said...

Would be nice to cut it all out and let us order liquor online to have shipped to our homes... but I guess liberty minded small, limited government republicans in this state don’t really believe people should have such freedom.

Anonymous said...

If the Legislature and Governor can remove a state flag over one weekend, surely it would be easy for this group to revise Mississippi's archaic alcohol laws.

However, I will give them credit for revising the possession laws.

So . . . I guess that might be a start.

Anonymous said...

If people are fighting over this in court, that means its a profitable venture. Why cant the state hire their own delivery drivers and allow the profit to stay with the State?

Anonymous said...

All the more reason the State has no business being in the liquor business. It's time to do away with ABC and let the free market rule. The legislature finally abolished prohibition. Now let them do away with ABC.

Anonymous said...

@3:53 pm—-Frierson had over 40 years in the PERS system as a public school teacher , legislator and Director of Revenue.If you knew anything about PERS retirement you should know most everyone retires in June so they can start getting their 13 check the next year. It’s conspiracy idiots like you that keep some very qualified folks from running for an elected office.

Anonymous said...

Chris Graham has already been named. That's about as non-political as you can get for an appointed department head, especially one as important as this. In the past, its always been based on connections and politics.

Such an appointment of a well qualified individual tells me there's going to be a lot of clean up on aisle seven. Don't be surprised to see Shad White lurking soon.

Kingfish said...

Dealt w CG over at Ethics. Always fair and professional.

Anonymous said...

For the non-lawyers out there, there is no requirement for putting parties' names in all-caps and/or bold font. It is just as distracting to us and judges as it is to the rest of the public. By the way, this was filed on June 26, and it is now close of business July 13, and the Plaintiff has not yet moved for a temporary restraining order. That, to me, is telling.

Anonymous said...

I will bring the booze...where we drinkin?

Anonymous said...

@ 3:53 pm, wrong. It would be the big government democrats who set up this state-controlled system. They don't want to introduce competition. I'm sure that our liquor store owners grease the palms of both parties, but you can't lay this blame on one party when the other set this system up. I say open it up and put it in the grocery stores, big box, and convenience stores.

*sips from his Woodford Reserve bought at the Sam's in another Republican-controlled state*

Pappy Van Winkle said...

445, you have it exactly backwards.

The state has no 'business' to be in business. It is well proven that private businesses - that are in the business of doing specific things - can do them bettetr and cheaper than can government.

In this case, what should happen is that the state get OUT OF the liquor business and let the private sector sell liquor to the retailers. The state would still establish the rules and regulations, the state would still collect the taxes (which are now guised as markups).

Instead of the state getting into the delivery business, get out of the liquor business altogether. Then the private company would hire whoever could perform the service for the lowest cost/best service concept that the state tries to establish through its RFQ process.

But the reasons that this doesn't happen has little to do with the partisan divide in the legislature; its because the liquor store owners are a big damn lobby - same reason that you can't buy wine in a grocery store.

And because the Commissioners always before don't want to give it up - its a great fiefdom to be in charge of. And they get many great trips out of the gig due to the national meetings that the industry "just has to have".

Not to say anything about the special orders of some really good hooch that seems to appear in residences occupied by the Commissioner.

Anonymous said...

Chris Graham is solid.

Goes to work. Does his job.

Good hire. Wish him well.

Anonymous said...

The real question is why do we need an ABC warehouse? Beer seems to be distributing quite efficiently, and the state is able to tax it as needed. This is the most egregious boondoggle of government bureaucracy in our state.

Green Acres said...

Food fight. All I ask for is that liquor be delivered promptly to the stores for sale to customers and not left to sit in a truck in the hot sun for hours before delivery. Heat spoils the cabernet.

Anonymous said...

I travel a lot. I manage to buy my booze out of state. Can you possibly figure out why?

Anonymous said...

Amen to 5:52. Can you imagine these guys being in charge of distributing colas, toilet paper or beer? So, why do they get to pick my wine?

Anonymous said...

5:18, small gov’t independent here, how long has it been since dems controlled anything in state government? Use your head for more than a hat rack and encourage your republican pals who do control everything to do their job and end this BS system. Stop being part of the problem.

Anonymous said...

5:18, never said republicans started it. But explain to me under current makeup how the Republican legislature and governor can’t fix it?

Macy Hanson said...

"Pappy Van Winkle" knows what he is talking about. Even if he is named after the world's most overrated, and over wheated, bourbon.

I do think that the only logistical problem with Direct online orders would be selectively allocated Liquors.

I actually stopped by colony wine shop in Madison and they are waiting on their rum shipment. I don't know if it is related to this.

I do love Briarwood, though. And Lincoln Road in Hattiesburg is nationally recognized.

Anonymous said...

@6:40 #1,

Ah, you collect out of state tax stamps?

Who remembers when every bottle of alcohol sold in Mississippi had a tax decal pasted to it? Seems they were red for bottles sold in package stores and a different color for bottles used in bars. Back then bar owners weren't allowed to buy liquor in package stores to use in bars. I'm not sure when the State stopped using tax stamps, but it must have saved a ton of money.

Anonymous said...

Frierson resigned on June 30 for one reason and one reason only. That's the last day of the state fiscal year on which any PERS retiree with good sense retires.

Anonymous said...

Pappy has it right. Mississippi's state liquor distribution scheme penalizes consumers with limited choices, high prices and inefficient service. The state monopoly does benefit the small liquor stores by keeping the wholesale prices level across the board with the result that the retail prices don't vary by much from store to store. Imbibing my way across the USA has opened my eyes; I've visited states with more restrictive liquor distribution than us and states that are wide open. Getting MS out of the wholesaling while keeping the one store ownership rule would protect the smaller stores and improve the choices and prices for consumers.

Anonymous said...

It still begs the question. Why hasn’t that little fiefdom been investigated? All sorts of corruption from shaking down taxpayers with threats and aiding in “washing” car titles from small used car lots for SEC football players. Hmmmmm

Anonymous said...

@8:41

You need to write a book about it. There's nothing like dirt on SEC "stars" and used car lot owners!

Anonymous said...

If you do some more digging I wonder what we will find. This is not the only contract DED was awarded during the Frierson administration. Will see.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Willie Necaise was bringing the booze!

Anonymous said...

Was DED still running a truck from Mr. Necaise's barn to Madison County? Wasn't it illegal for them to travel through Scott County?

Has anybody on this here blog noticed that Mitch Tyner's (100% American Owned) gas station, cricket store and Cheeze-Nabs grocery on 43 is now nothing but liquor? The first one you hit when you cross the Rez coming from Scott and Leake. 60% of the folks who stop there headed West, leave headed East.

Anonymous said...

Jackson still has liquor stores operating?

I been buy all mine in Rankin county for the last 25 years.

Anonymous said...

9:53, who is an SEC star? I always thought they were public school rejects who couldn’t pass the SAT’s without someone taking it for them. Oops, did I mess up and say something truthful?

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