After a selection committee tentatively chose a winner last month from three design-build teams bidding to handle major renovations to Cheney Stadium, allegations about potential improprieties in the bid process have emerged, stalling the city from awarding the contract, city officials said.
But Tacoma City Manager Eric Anderson said the city’s legal department has since reviewed the claims, and the city is standing behind the integrity of the process despite the “appearance issue.”
“While I regretfully must acknowledge the potential of an appearance issue, based on our due diligence inquiry, I am confident in the integrity of the selection process and have concluded that the selection process can move forward unimpeded,” Anderson wrote in a memo to council members released yesterday.
Last month, the ballpark selection panel, made up of city officials, private consultants and representatives of the Tacoma Rainiers and The Cheney Foundation, had ranked highest a design-build team consisting of Mortenson Construction, Belay Architecture and Populous, Inc., said Mike Combs, the city’s public assembly facilities director and a selection panel member.
Later, members of one of the competing bidders reported seeing a member of the selection panel meeting with members of the winning team before the selection was made, city officials have said. The meeting allegedly occurred at a restaurant in the Hotel Murano during the first week in January, city spokesman Rob McNair-Huff said.
Late yesterday, the city released Anderson’s memo to The News Tribune, which has been asking for details about the ballpark design bids since early January. The newspaper filed a formal public disclosure request for information about the bid process late last month.
We’ll have more details of this story in tomorrow’s newspaper. To read Anderson’s memo to council members, click the link below.