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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


The New York Times
April 17, 1900

Justice Lawrence Dissolves Restraint on Commissioner Keating.

Justice Lawrence in the Supreme Court yesterday refused to continue the temporary injunction obtained in a taxpayer's action brought by Simon H. Bergoffen, restraining Commissioner Keating of the Department of Highways, from entering into a contract for the asphalting of certain streets in the Borough of Manhattan.

The action was brought by Mr. Bergoffen in behalf of the New Jersey Mexican Asphalt Company, whose officers charged that Commissioner Keating refused to permit them to tender bids for the work and that this refusal was fraudulent and in bad faith.  They further charged that the requirements in the proposals were unreasonable and were issued for the purpose of limiting competition and confining it to a small number of bidders.

In denying the motion to continue the injunction, Justice Lawrence says the terms of the proposals were manifestly fair and in the interest of the city.  Further he says that it appears that the New Jersey company was not the lowest bidder on any but one of the contracts, and that, as the action was not one between the company and the city, but between a taxpayer and the city, the plaintiff has failed to establish a standing in court.  As to the other questions involved, he says, they can be better disposed of upon the trial of the action, when an opportunity will be given to each side for examination of witnesses.

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