The attorney general of Denver has reached an agreement with a contractor under investigation for bid-rigging whereby the company will pay a fine of $650,000 and donate goods and services worth at least the same amount to the building of a coronavirus treatment centre.
Phil Weiser said the deal, reached with Mortenson Company and several Denver council employees, would settle his investigation into possible bid-rigging in a scheme to expand the Colorado Convention Centre.
Mortenson was the general contractor for the project, and was suspected of having obtained confidential information from the Denver city council that helped it in the bidding process.
Weiser commented: The communications between Mortenson and Trammell Crow [the city’s programme manager] were improper and gave Mortenson an unfair advantage in the competitive bidding process for the Colorado Convention Centre expansion project. This egregious behaviour caused Denver officials to cancel the procurement process and delay the project at significant cost to the city and to the residents of Colorado."
He added: "The silver lining is Coloradans will benefit from additional resources to respond to needs we have from the COVID-19 pandemic in our state."
The deal requires Mortenson Company to build a coronavirus centre worth at least $650,000, for which it will pay for all building materials, subcontractor costs and design services.
In addition to the fine and the donated healthcare facility, Mortenson will have to:
- Make a presentation on ethics and antitrust compliance issues related to public projects to a large construction conference.
- Make an annual presentation on ethics and lessons learned from project at a four-year college or university in Colorado as part of an ethics, corporate social responsibility, or business management program or class.
- Enroll and complete the Certificate in Corporate Social Responsibility offered by the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business within two years.
- Adopt policies in Colorado to encourage minority and women-owned businesses to work with Mortenson on public projects. Each of the officers and employees of the company implicated in the alleged bid-rigging scheme must participate in this forum and in related training.
Image Â©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier