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Rejection of Fluor for Work at Convention Center Seen

August 13, 1986|RICH CONNELL | Times Staff Writer

A top Los Angeles Convention Center official said Tuesday that the facility's governing body will probably reverse its tentative selection of the Fluor Corp. for a major contract because the company's dealings in South Africa conflict with the city's anti-apartheid policy.

Sandra Gordon, Convention Center Commission president, said she expects the panel to heed the wishes of Mayor Tom Bradley and Los Angeles City Council members and select another company to oversee the proposed $310-million expansion of the Convention Center.

Gordon's comments came after the City Council's Revenue and Finance Committee voted unanimously not to concur in the selection of Irvine-based Fluor for the $2.5-million construction management job.

The contract has become the first major test of the city's anti-apartheid policy, which bans some purchases with firms doing business in the racially segregated country. The ban affects about 13% of the city's contracts--those not subject to competitive bid requirements. Fluor, an international construction and engineering firm, did about $40 million in business in South Africa last year.

While the Convention Center Commission was not legally required to do so, it agreed to forward the selection to Bradley and the City Council for concurrence. The full council is expected to adopt its committee's recommendation in the next several days, and Gordon said the commission would move quickly after that to select a new manager for the project.

Fluor officials declined to comment Tuesday. In the past, however, they have hinted that they might sue to retain the contract.

However, Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, chairman of the Revenue and Finance Committee, warned a Fluor official in the audience Tuesday that city officials "are damn serious" about enforcing their anti-apartheid policy and a lawsuit that would "hold the Convention Center hostage" might adversely affect the firm's chances of ever getting other city business not covered by the policy.

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