Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE/MBE) Files Discrimination Lawsuit Against City of Los Angeles

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Clean Up America alleges that The City breached its contract and gave preferential treatment to a favored non-black owned hauler.

Clean Up America, Inc and Deontay Potter filed a lawsuit Case No. 18STVC04176 against The City of Los Angeles for discrimination. CUA alleges that The City breached its contract and gave preferential treatment to a favored non-black owned hauler. The lawsuit alleges the City of Los Angeles facilitated Arrow Disposal Service in illegally dumping thousands of tons of debris that should’ve been recycled per the City’s own ordinance in Puente Hills Landfill. Fines could exceed $8,000,000 as the City’s ordinance calls for penalties up to $5,000 per load.

Clean Up America, Inc. was the lowest bidder for The Construction Debris Disposal Contract for The Department of General Services – Construction Forces Division.  In August 2013, Clean Up America, Inc was awarded a one-year contract, with renewal options, from the City of Los Angeles Department of General Services – Construction Forces Division for Construction Debris Recycling, to begin December 2015.

According to Potter and his staff, the adversity started almost immediately with unrealistic delivery requests and reports of disingenuous behavior by DGS staff.  CUA’s lawsuit also states that after commencing execution of the contract, CUA experienced various acts of vandalism to its operations vehicles, equipment, and other property, including arson that occurred during early morning hours. 

According to the complaint, on or about March 15th, 2016, a DGS employee told Potter that a “higher-up” within DGS did not want Clean Up America to be awarded the contract.

It also states that during the administration of the contract, DGS unreasonably scrutinized CUA’s performance of its contractual obligations and would often delay and/or deny payment of CUA’s invoices.  According to public record, only three months into the contract DGS awarded the same contract to Arrow Disposal Service and seemingly the City of Los Angeles, never intended to uphold the promise of “equal-opportunity” by applying adverse treatment toward CUA.

CUA is the only African American owned, DBE, MBE Waste Recycle Company in California.

It appears that the award by the city was resented by certain groups who have traditionally controlled refuse collection and disposal through-out most Southern California counties.  According to the complaint, the City of Los Angeles allowed Arrow to operate with numerous violations resulting in over 5,000 loads of C&D (LA MUNI CODE 66.32.3b) illegally dumped in the landfill.  Potter believes that CUA was targeted by the City of Los Angeles and Arrow Disposal Service collectively.