Without explanation, the city procurement office seeks to triple the cost of an armed security contract
3/1/23 UPDATE: Following publication of this story, the Board of Estimates deferred action on the price increase
Above: A photo of Mayor Brandon Scott and another of Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison posing with company founder Dominick Reed, both currently on the C.I.E.R. website. (ciersecurity.com)
The Board of Estimates is being asked tomorrow to add millions of dollars to an armed guard contract that went into effect just seven months ago.
In so doing, the owner of a small Randallstown company – which won the contract by underpricing its 10 rivals – is in line to receive a $7.87 million revised contract, $5.5 million more than the original contract.
The recipient of this fresh money is C.I.E.R. Security & Protection Agency LLC, which is “not in good standing,” according to the Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.
Unless it is settled quickly, such a designation is considered a bar to winning city contracts.
3/1/23: Following our disclosure that C.I.E.R. is not in good standing with the state, the Board of Estimates, at the request of Comptroller Bill Henry, delayed a vote on the $5.5 million add-on until its next (March 15) meeting.
The security company also did not meet the 27% MBE and 10% MWE participation requirements.
But it is getting a pass on that because it made a “good faith effort,” the city procurement office says.
The listed owner and resident agent, Dominick Carlos Reed, pleaded guilty last week to driving with an expired license plate, according to online court records.
His driver’s license was suspended in December after he was twice pulled over by police for expired plates.
His license was returned on February 22 under a plea agreement.
Under New Ownership?
Reed no longer works at C.I.E.R., Donell Trusty, deputy chief of the company, said today.
He said C.I.E.R. recently merged with Urban Development Solutions Inc. owned by Nicholas Rosado, a former C.I.E.R associate.
Rosado, who was not available for comment (nor was Reed), is listed in state records as the sole shareholder of Urban Development.
He owns 1,000 shares of stock issued at 1 cent each, for a total value of $10.
Urban Development is in ”good standing” with the state, and C.I.E.R. is being used as a trade name, says Trusty, who also runs Trusty Training Solutions, a Randallstown weapons instruction company.
No Reason Given
Acting Baltimore Purchasing Agent Keisha L. Brown did not provide any reason for requesting the contract be amended from $2,377,680 – approved by the BOE last August – to $7,877,680 if ratified tomorrow by Mayor Brandon Scott and the rest of the board.
And nowhere is Urban Development Solutions named in the contract documents forwarded to the spending board.
Brown’s memo to the BOE, obtained by The Brew, simply says the increase is needed “to allow for the continuity of armed guard services at City facilities as required.”
Brown did not respond to written questions submitted yesterday and today by The Brew.
Guarding City Property
The contract (SB-23-10590) calls for the armed guards to protect 12 city properties, deploying about 35 employees, who started last August and will continue until August 2025.
Trusty said that company helps safeguard public property. “Our goal is prevent material from going missing.” He declined to say what property the company protects.
Contract documents show that around-the-clock armed guards are provided for the Pulaski Highway Impound Lot, the former Sunpapers Building now used for the Central Police District, four Public Works equipment yards, two motels turned into homeless shelters, a youth center and a police horse stable.
“Our goal is to prevent material from going missing” – Donell Trusty.
The company also supplies a daytime guard at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building and two shifts of armed protection for the BARCS Animal Shelter on Giles Road.
Formed by Reed in 2018, C.I.E.R. offered the lowest price among 11 companies seeking the armed guard contract last year.
It underbid the second lowest bidder, Metropolitan Police Protection of Linthicum, by $39,000, or less than 2%. Other failed bidders were close behind Metropolitan.
• Fern Shen contributed to this story. To reach a reporter: email@example.com