BALTIMORE — Arnold M. Jolivet, who worked tirelessly as a champion and crusader for minority-owned businesses, died Sunday at Sinai Hospital.
Family members did not immediately disclose the cause of death, but reportedly Jolivet’s demise was sudden and unexpected, just days shy of his 72nd birthday.
A fixture at Baltimore’s Board of Estimate meetings, Jolivet in 2012 filed a $30 million lawsuit against the city alleging that officials had awarded more than 40 no-bid contracts totaling about $250 million which effectively froze out minority contractors, according to published reports.
“The mayor doesn’t seem to want to work with the minority contractors, particularly the African-American community,” Jolivet said at the time he filed the suit.
In action sparked by Jolivet, the Maryland Transportation Administration announced in 2012 that it was trying to boost minority business involvement in two multi-million Para-transit contracts worth $42 million that had previously failed to achieve a required 25 percent minority business enterprise goal.
The deficiencies came to light when Jolivet, serving as managing director of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association, brought the issue to the attention of the Board of Public Works.
At a meeting with public works officials, Jolivet said he understood that the board was being, “placed between a rock and a hard place” in terms of what was an ongoing contract for services that were obviously needed.
However, Jolivet said, “In both cases, they have willfully ignored the minority business enterprise provisions. Send a message that is loud and clear that the minority business utilization goal is a very important part of the contract for the board, the MTA and the whole state of Maryland will fully intend that the contractor will comply with it,” he demanded.
If nothing else, Jolivet’s activism on the part of minority businesses forced local and state officials to take a hard look at their practices when handing out contracts, particularly more African American contractors have been afforded opportunities because of Jolivet.
Born in Baldwin, Louisiana, Jolivet earned a football scholarship to Morgan State University where he ultimately graduated with a degree in economics and government.
Later, he attended the University of Maryland Law School before accepting a job at the Maryland Equal Opportunity Office.
He then formed the firm, Management Trainers and Consultants and then became the executive director of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association.
Friends and family took to social media to express their sorrow over Jolivet’s death.
“You were a man amongst men, a strong supporter for minority business in Baltimore City, the state of Maryland and nationally,” said Michael A. Graham, the executive vice president at the official Heart & Soul Magazine and president of Graham Communications, Inc.
“Today my heart is saddened and heavy. Arnold was a tireless advocate, friend and champion for minority business and he would fight the business battles for our community,” Graham said. “Sometimes, he would stand alone but he always stood strong.”
Arnold Jolivet Services Information – Please put this on first. Can you add this to the article?
The viewing is Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at Vaughn Greene Funeral Home located 8728 Liberty Rd, from 4-8 p.m. Services will be held August 6, 2014 at Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Avenue. The wake is 10-11 a.m. homegoing 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. followed by interment at Garrison Forest Cemetery.