BART officials are waiting to see if a longtime associate of the troubled Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland can produce documents to prove that he is qualified to receive a lighting improvement contract for more than half a million dollars.
Nedir Bey, 38, has until 5 p.m. Thursday to provide license, bond and insurance documents for his firm, Solar Eclipse Group, to perform $562,129 worth of work at the North Berkeley station.
BART also has an option to have Solar Eclipse to do another $438,000 worth of work at the station.
Bey still hasn’t produced the proper documentation, even though BART directors voted unanimously three weeks ago to have him participate in lighting work that also includes the 12th Street/Oakland City Center station.
His checkered past includes pleading no contest to a felony false-imprisonment charge after a 1994 incident in which he and other bakery associates were charged with torturing and robbing a man with whom they had a real estate dispute. He was sentenced to six months of home detention.
Bey ran for an Oakland City Council seat in 2002 but finished fourth in the primary election, getting only 2.1 percent of the vote.
He still owes the city of Oakland $1.1 million because he never repaid a 1996 “economic revitalization loan” that was supposed to train welfare recipients to be home health aides.
Bey formerly was a member of Your Black Muslim Bakery, which went bankrupt two years ago.
The organization’s leader, Yusuf Bey IV, is awaiting trial on three counts of murder for the deaths of journalist Chauncey Bailey and two other men in the summer of 2007. He’s also awaiting trial on charges that he and several associates kidnapped and tortured two women in Oakland in May 2007 in an attempt to get money from them.
At the BART board’s Oct. 22 meeting, staff members recommended that the entire contract for lighting improvement projects at the 12th Street Oakland City Center and North Berkeley stations be awarded to LINC Lighting & Electrical Group of San Jose.
LINC submitted the lowest bid for the project and was the only one of the three bidders whose bid was lower than the amount that was estimated by a BART engineer.
But BART directors disregarded the staff’s report and voted to award part of the contract to Solar Eclipse.
BART Director Bob Franklin said today that Solar Eclipse submitted the lowest estimate in the original bidding for the lighting improvement project and an error by the transit agency’s staff prevented the company from providing a revised bid based on updated bidding specifications.
Franklin said Solar Eclipse is a qualified applicant in a joint venture project to do the lighting work.
He said it’s “not atypical” for BART directors to award a contract to a company before it produces all the documentation required for a project.
Franklin said the contract for Solar Eclipse will be declared “null and void” if it doesn’t produce the required documentation.
At a BART board meeting on Jan. 8, the day after violent protests over the shooting death of Oscar Grant III at the hands of a BART police officer rocked downtown Oakland and 120 people were arrested, Bey accused the transit agency’s directors of being “servants of the devil” and said he thinks the protesters were justified.
Bey said, “If they (the protesters) want to riot and tear things up, God bless them. I love what the people did last night.”
Asked why BART’s board approved the contract for Solar Eclipse despite Bey’s background, Franklin said, “his background doesn’t preclude him from changing light fixtures.”
Franklin said the main question for the BART board is whether Solar Eclipse is financially responsible and can post the required bond.
“We’re a public agency and it’s a public bidding process,” Franklin said.
Bey hasn’t been available for comment since his firm was awarded the contract.
Solar Eclipse isn’t listed in the phone book or in directory assistance and a search on Google didn’t turn up a Web site for the company.