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Hackensack Business and Commercial Law Blog

County hits the pause button on construction contract p3

We are talking about a dispute between two construction companies and Bergen County. Early in July, the county awarded the construction contract for the new justice center to Dobco Inc. The Dobco bid was the lowest responsible bid, the county said, adding that the county's construction expert gave the award the thumbs up.

The second-lowest bidder, Terminal Construction Corp., says there is a major flaw in the Dobco bid and that Dobco has misrepresented the electrical subcontractor listed on the bid as an independent company. Terminal contends that the subcontractor is actually a shell company for Dobco, a ruse that will result in higher costs to the county.

County hits the pause button on construction contract p2

When a general contractor is bidding on a government project, he or she must remember that all of the equal opportunity laws that apply to him apply to his subcontractors as well. One of the reasons the request for proposal asks for a list of all the subcontractors is to determine if any has a history of not complying with these or other laws.

Another reason is that the government wants general contractors to show their work, to provide detail about the projected costs for each part of the project. Depending on the contract, any problems with a subcontractor's work would be the responsibility of both the general and the sub.

County hits the pause button on construction contract

It is relatively easy to form a contract with someone. You make an offer, she accepts and the two of you agree on a price. Forming a contract with the government is a completely different story. There are state and county and city regulations to follow, there are bid-specific forms that must be completed and there are approval hoops to jump through.

For example, a general contractor bidding on a public project in New Jersey is bound by the state's equal opportunity and affirmative action laws. And in Bergen County, according to the Public Works Department website, a response to a request for proposal must be in a specific format, must be accompanied by several appendixes, and must include specific information about the contractor making the bid and the subcontractors that will be involved with the project.

Businesses and the ties that bind - or handcuff - their employees

"If you love something," the saying goes, "let it go. If it comes back to you, it is yours forever. If it does not, then it was never meant to be." A Google search turns up multiple sources for the maxim. One is the author of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," another is a novel about were-hunters. Wherever it comes from, it is hard to imagine the saying holding much sway in a highly competitive business setting.

More likely, businesses rely on some wag's twist on the sentiment: "If you love something, let it go. If it does not come back … hunt it down and kill it." Perhaps this version is more prevalent on the East Coast, especially in New Jersey and New York City, where business people have a reputation for cynicism. A business, however, does not need to be cynical to want to protect its assets.

Bergen Cty office market not keeping up with the Joneses in NYC

Crain's New York reported earlier this month that Manhattan is in for an office development boom over the next year or so. The New York Building Congress estimates that the borough will end the three-year period of 2013 to 2015 with an additional 9 million square feet of new office space. The trend is expected to continue for the rest of the decade.

Bergen County may not be as lucky. Alfred Sanzari Enterprises recently announced it has abandoned plans for an office building in the Glenpointe Complex in Teaneck. The developer had planned a 14-story tower to what the company's website describes as a 650,000-square-foot "mixed-use complex." Instead, the company will build a 350-room hotel.

Size matters where minimum wage is concerned p2

Congress continues to mull over a proposal to increase the minimum wage from $7.25 per hour to $10.10 per hour. If the bill passes, New Jersey employers would be obliged to pay the higher rate. For some, the higher cost of labor would mean raising the prices of merchandise. For others, though, including franchisees, that kind of increase could have prove fatal.

Seattle has beaten Congress to it. The city has adopted a $15 per hour minimum wage that businesses will implement over the next few years. How quickly businesses move to the new wage depends on how many employees they have and the benefits they offer.

Size matters where minimum wage is concerned

The furor over New Jersey's minimum wage increase may have died down, but the lull may not last. Voters approved a measure last year that raised the minimum from $7.25 an hour to $8.25 an hour. The state will adjust the wage annually based on the increase in the Consumer Price Index.

Opponents of the increase worried that it would cost jobs and shutter some operations altogether. Small businesses, including franchises, would not be able to keep up as the higher wage ate into razor-thin profit margins.

Macy's v. JCP: Is it over? Is it really over?

No, it is not really over. It is, however, mostly over, if J.C. Penney does not appeal. For now, though, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Oing may have seen the back of Macy's Inc. v. J.C. Penney Corporation (652861/2012) with his recently released ruling against J.C. Penney.

The case is the last claim to be adjudicated in the long-running battle between the two retailers over Martha Stewart merchandise. In December 2011, J.C. Penney famously entered into an agreement -- a "strategic alliance" -- with Martha Steward Living Omnimedia to sell Stewart-branded household goods in its stores. Macy's, of course, had already penned an exclusive deal with Stewart in 2007.

More women starting up business in NJ, nationwide

According to a report by American Express OPEN, the number of American businesses owned by women has increased drastically over the last 16 years. The report estimates that roughly 1,288 new companies are started each day, which is over twice the number in 2011 and 2012. The rate of increase is apparently twice the rate for men. These numbers, which have not yet been officially released, are based on extrapolation from already available data, which only goes through 2007.

With respect to New Jersey the rate of growth for women-owned businesses increased nearly 50 percent between 1997 and 2014. One of the differences between companies owned by men and those owned by women, though, is that the latter tend to be smaller, generally speaking. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. In fact, many women starting businesses like it that way--it allows them to lead a more balanced life while still bringing in money and maintaining independence. 

Litigation piles up for ex-New Jersey hockey team, now bankrupt

When the Trenton Titans hockey team was established in 1999, its owners and supporters obviously hoped that a lasting legacy based on outstanding play and titles would follow.

Such was not to be the case. With the team hemorrhaging money and ultimately filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy earlier this year, the legacy of the now former East Coast Hockey League club is instead mired in business litigation, including a class action lawsuit and breach of contract claims.

Reportedly, the Titans owe nearly half a million dollars to myriad creditors, some of which have sued and a few that have recouped some money through mediation efforts conducted on their behalf by Mercer County.

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