Mortenson agrees to settlement in convention center bid-rigging investigation

Colorado Convention Center

A rendering showing the expanded Colorado Convention Center. (Courtesy Colorado Convention Center Master Plan)

Construction firm Mortenson has agreed to a $1.3 million settlement in connection with a state investigation into bid rigging over the expansion of the Colorado Convention Center.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said Monday that Minneapolis-based Mortenson has agreed to pay $650,000, and to donate an additional $650,000 worth of construction services for a yet-to-be-identified project related to the state’s coronavirus response.

The city of Denver announced in December 2018 that it had halted the bidding process for the expansion of the downtown convention center and terminated its project with Trammell Crow, which was overseeing the project.

In a Monday statement, Weiser said “improper” communication between the two companies “gave Mortenson an unfair advantage in the competitive bidding process.”

“Today’s announcement shows we will hold accountable those companies and individuals that undermine the competitive bidding process when they bid for public construction projects and put millions of taxpayer dollars at risk,” Weiser said. “The silver lining is Coloradans will benefit from additional resources to respond to needs we have from the COVID-19 pandemic in our state.”

Mortenson had denied wrongdoing, and at one point sued the city for records it wanted as part of its defense. On Monday, however, the company’s top executive said it fell short.

“While we have resolved the Colorado Convention Center matter with the Colorado Attorney General without adjudication or finding of liability, our involvement in this matter was neither consistent with who we are as a company nor our longstanding reputation,” Mortenson President and CEO Dan Johnson said in a statement. “Simply put, we did not meet our own expectations.”

Weiser said his office continues to investigate Trammell Crow.

In addition to providing cash and services worth $1.3 million, Mortenson employees and executives implicated in the scheme must also:

  • + Make a presentation on ethics and antitrust compliance issues related to public projects to a large construction conference within a year
  • + Make an annual presentation on ethics and lessons learned from the convention center expansion project at a four-year college or university in Colorado
  • + Enroll and complete the certificate in corporate social responsibility offered by the University Of Colorado Leeds School Of Business within two years
    + Hold an informational open house or forum for minority and women-owned businesses about how they could work with Mortenson on public projects in Colorado

Colorado Convention Center

A rendering…

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ken bohannon
1 year ago

All too often, throughout the US, construction decisions are corrupted. Courts have typically punished abusers with lightweight, monetary fines and specific and general objectives and /or goals to mitigate and remediate bad behavior. Watching the spectacle of unethical and unlawful business behaviors helps to undermine trust in our system.

Eric
Eric
1 year ago

It’s always amusing when companies get caught w their collective hands in the cookie jar, move through a trial & slapped w a monetary fine. Then come out w the slogan, “we admit no wrongdoing.” Yeah. companies like Mortenson ALWAYS pass out $1.3 Million for NO reason.