Beach Stand Bidder Stuck With Bad Move

OCEAN CITY – The City Council unanimously denied a request from a first-time beach stand bidder to withdrawal his successful bid for a downtown parcel and return his 20 percent deposit, citing that the town is not responsible for bad bid decisions.

City Clerk Carol Jacobs presented the request this week, citing inexperience as the reason for the first-time bidders high bid for an unpopular downtown parcel.

The south-end beach parcels were bid in December, with three parcels re-bid in February. John Robinson, of Ambler, PA, a first-time bidder in Ocean City, was the successful bidder for the 11th Street parcel. Robinson bid a high price of $7,001 for the parcel, which was well above other bidders. The second highest bid was just $800.

Subsequently, Robinson requested a withdrawal of his bid as well as the return of his 20 percent deposit, citing personal reasons as the cause for his change of heart.

Jacobs reported to the Mayor and Council that a few beach stand operators informed her that the 11th Street parcel is difficult to operate.

“I can only tell you what’s been told to me,” she said, noting that she did not know why the parcel was unpopular or why the street was described as having a “difficult customer base.”

“He bid too much and now he wants out,” said Councilman Jim Hall.

Hall made a motion that the council deny Robinson’s request for withdrawal. The denial would result in an acceptance of Robinson’s original bid. If Robinson still chooses to not go forward with the beach stand rental, he will be subject to a debarment hearing before the town.

“It just ruins the bidding process,” said Hall, explaining that the town cannot be held responsible for poor bids.

“How would Mr. Robinson bid almost 10 times the amount?,” questioned Councilwoman Mary Knight.

“I would have to say it was a lack of experience,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs explained to the council that she was available to answer all of Robinson’s questions. She also provided Robinson with information on past bids. Jacobs pointed out that Robinson bid well below other bids for the 26th Street parcel.

“He had access to all of the information he needed to make a good bid and he didn’t,” said Knight, seconding the motion.

The council voted unanimously to deny the request for withdrawal, to not return the 20 percent deposit and to ultimately accept Robinson’s initial bid of $7,001.