Meet the new bidder, same as the old bidder?

September 16, 2010
By

Who would have thought a contract involving trees would end up having so many branches of absurdity?

Last Thursday, about one month after yanking the existing tree trimming contract from a man accused of obtaining it through forgery, the city opened bids to award the contract to a new company. In the end, the low bidder ended up, essentially, being the same company – a company that can be traced back to that same man, Dan Hibbard. The company, AAA Treeworks, is but a small variation of the company that also had a tree contract removed by the Revere Housing Authority (RHA) two weeks ago due to an alleged forgery of contract documents.

Yes, believe it or not, Dan Hibbard has apparently found a way to bid on the contract he lost due to forging insurance and bonding documents, and he is also apparently in the lead for that contract.

AAA Treeworks – based out of a triple-decker in Linden Square – bid $18,300 for the contract, nearly $9,000 less than the next lowest bidder, Northern Tree Service of Palmer.

City officials were mystified by the turn of events.

Seemingly, no one could believe it. Even bidders at the bid opening were surprised.

“There’s definitely something fishy going on,” said one losing bidder.

Mayor Tom Ambrosino said that the city has not rejected AAA Treeworks as of yet, and that the city will only take action after consulting with state officials.

“I am sure we will confer with the [Inspector General’s] office before we take any action and we will follow their advice on how to proceed,” he said. “Under the circumstances, I would think they’d say we have sufficient grounds for rejecting this low-bidder.”

City Solicitor Paul Capizzi said that he has been looking into the matter since Thursday.

He said he didn’t think that there was any way the city would award the bid to AAA Treeworks, but he is consulting with the Attorney General before making such a determination.

“I would almost say let him sue us and take us to court and we’ll go before the judge and tell them all about what’s happening,” he said.

He also said he has been forwarding everything he finds to the FBI, the state Inspector General and the State Police for use in an apparent investigation.

AAA Treeworks was the same company name used in the RHA job. That RHA contract and the former City contract were both removed when it was discovered that Hibbard’s insurance documents and performance bond were forgeries.

A1 Climbers held the former City contract, while AAA Treeworks held the former RHA contract. Both could be traced back to Hibbard.

Now, the newest form of AAA Treeworks is a company incorporated in Nevada.

It is registered in the name of Scott Doucette, though Hibbard’s son, Dante, is a partner in the company. Though it is not certain, sources said that Doucette might be a long-time employee of Hibbard’s.

The company has a headquarters of 5 Oliver St. in Malden, which is just off of Linden Square facing Lynn Street. A visit to the property showed standard apartment mailboxes with unrelated names on them. However, under those regular mailboxes, a small black mailbox was propped up on a ledge and it bore the handwritten names of ‘AAA Tree Works’ and ‘Trident Avenue Development.’

Trident Avenue Development is a former, and perhaps current, owner of the property. Trident is owned by Dan Hibbard’s girlfriend, and based out of a home in Winthrop she owns – which is next door to the home where she and Hibbard reside.

The officers in the Nevada-based AAA Treeworks company were changed in mid-August, just after Dan Hibbard lost the City of Revere tree trimming contract.

The RHA contract was based out of 53 Trident Ave. in Winthrop, a property also owned and developed into condominiums by Hibbard’s girlfriend.

Revere officials said they would continue researching the matter before making a final decision on awarding the contract in the near future.

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