Chain tension

A tree services firm has filed a $31-million lawsuit against city hall and a competitor, alleging contracts favour a single company

Photo: CLC Tree Services owner, Calvin McCallum (file photo)

A LONDON TREE services firm is taking one of its competitors and city hall to court, alleging contracts for forestry and planting work unfairly favour a single company.

A $31-million civil lawsuit against the City of London and Davey Tree Expert Co. has been filed by London-based CLC Tree Services Ltd.

CLC is alleging an unfair bidding process for city contracts and bias by the city towards Davey Tree. The statement of claim names Davey, the manager of its London office, city hall and two city staffers, saying they’re “clearly conspiring together” to hurt other companies financially.

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The lawsuit is seeking $15 million in general and compensatory damages and a combined $16 million in punitive damages.

“A culture of exclusion and preference has become so pervasive and insidious that few if any arbor providers other than Davey even bother to apply, knowing in advance that there will be no prospect of the contract being awarded,” CLC Tree Service alleges in its statement of claim, calling it a breach of city hall’s code of ethics and the federal Competition Act.

City hall’s manager of forestry operations, Andrew Beaton, is named in the lawsuit, as is his boss John Parsons, the division manager of transportation, roadside and forestry operations.

The lawsuit alleges that preferential treatment stems from a friendship between the manager of Davey’s London office, Tim Holley, and Beaton, a former Davey employee. The statement of claim states that since 2003, all arbor and consulting contracts have been award by the City of London to Davey Tree.

Statements of claim contain allegations not yet tested in court.

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According to a Global News report, CLC Tree Services lawyer, Steven Bookman, says the exclusion of other companies in the bidding process has gotten worse to the point where many don’t even bother applying.

“[CLC] are not in this for a money grab. They are in it to have it returned to a fair system and opportunity to move forward helping to serve the city,” Bookman told Global News. “This case involves what we allege and believe is a systemic problem in the in the forestry department in the City of London that has been going on for many years, and as time goes on, there seems to a progression of exclusion of all forestry companies in the London area with exception of one.”

Statements of claim contain allegations not yet tested in court.

Davey Tree says its statement of defence will be filed shortly. Chain tension lawsuit Bidding & Tenders

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