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Garrett Mays figures he got played as a sucker. He runs Specialized Services and Associates, a D.C.-based builder. In 2006, Mays met Orlando Sales, a Baltimore construction contractor who was preparing to bid on a contract worth more than $1 million to replace 90 windows at Shepherd Elementary School in Northwest. Sales asked Mays to subcontract on the job. Mays agreed, but the two never agreed on a price. Because Mays runs a local, small, and disadvantaged business, Sales stood to gain preference points on his bid.

When Sales eventually won the contract, Mays says Sales sent him a low-ball contract, and the two parted ways, although Mays is still listed as a subcontractor on the school’s contract.Ultimately, Sales did not need preference points from Mays’ company to win the Shepherd job. His company was the only bidder.

Mays still could get the last laugh. On Sept. 28, D.C. Schools Office of Contracts and Acquisition sent Sales a letter threatening to default the contract because the window job had not passed muster.

Sales did not respond to calls for comment. “That’s the way he is,” says Mays.