Denver settles with companies that tried to rig the bid for Convention Center expansion project

That ends all litigation between the city and Mortenson Construction and the Trammell Crow Company.

The Colorado Convention Center seen from atop the Le Meridien Hotel on California Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

The Colorado Convention Center seen from atop the Le Meridien Hotel on California Street. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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The city of Denver announced Wednesday it had reached a settlement with two companies accused of rigging the bid for the Colorado Convention Center expansion project.

Mortenson Construction and Trammell Crow Company will each pay the city $4.5 million as part of the settlement. Ryan Luby, a spokesperson for the City Attorney’s Office, said the $9 million Denver will get covers the cost of the project delays.

“This settlement means we’ve made taxpayers whole, our well-established procurement rules have been fortified and this critical public project is moving forward to support our post-COVID economic recovery,” Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement.

The $233 million expansion project came to a standstill in December 2018 after the city discovered that the search for a contractor had been “undermined.” A lengthy probe that included Denver’s City Attorney and District Attorney found that Trammell Crow, the developer overseeing the project, had leaked documents to Mortenson to give it a leg up in its bid to become the project’s general contractor. The state AG investigated whether the companies violated the Colorado Antitrust Act, and in April 2019, Mortenson agreed to pay the state $650,000 and offer construction services as part of a settlement, according to Colorado Public Radio News.

In addition to paying Denver, Mortenson is not allowed to bid on city contracts for three years and must publicly apologize. Trammell Crow said Wednesday that it terminated the employee involved in the bid-rigging scheme two years ago.

“We are pleased to have resolved all matters related to the Colorado Convention Center expansion project,” Trammell Crow’s senior managing director Bill Mosher said in a statement. “We deeply regret the disruption that was caused to the expansion project and apologize again to the City and the people of Denver.”

The city restarted the bidding process for a general contractor in May 2019.

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