The giant blue bear that peers in the windows is part of the public art collection at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver.

(Photo: Courtesy of Scott Dressell Martin)

The city of Denver announced Wednesday afternoon it uncovered misconduct in the bidding process for the construction phase of a $233 million expansion of the Colorado Convention Center.

The city isn’t sharing many details, but the mayor’s office said it has terminated the project management contract for the expansion held by the real estate developer Trammell Crow.

In November, the Department of Public Works discovered the bidding process to pick a construction company for the project had been interfered with, the city said. There was an improper release of city documents, improper discussions about the process and even altering of approved project plans.

The contractor implicated appears to be Mortenson Construction, according to a Denver Mayor’s Office press release. The city will request “a review of Mortenson’s prequalification status for bidding on future projects” and “seek legislation to enhance the scope of the City’s debarment ordinance.” 

Mayor Michael Hancock said he’s asked the District Attorney to investigate.

“We believe this is a significant breach of the public trust and a willful violation of a competitive bidding process,” Mayor Hancock said in a statement. “We will never tolerate this type of behavior from our contractors and will continue to address this swiftly and aggressively.”

The mayor’s office said no city employees are believed to be a part of the misconduct, and it will reopen the bidding process.

In a public statement, Trammell Crow said:

The alleged actions in connection with the Colorado Convention Center project have in no way been authorized by Trammell Crow Company and are contrary to the firm’s values and longstanding business practices.  We are cooperating fully with the City and are conducting our own internal investigation. We will take internal actions as the results of our investigation dictate, including appropriate disciplinary measures.

Mortenson Senior Vice President Maja Rosenquist said in a statement: 

We’ve received a letter from the City and County of Denver concerning termination of the RFP for the Colorado Convention Center Expansion project. We take the issues raised by the City very seriously and are committed to addressing this matter thoroughly and appropriately. We are conducting our own review of our participation in the RFP process and will cooperate with any further inquiries by the City or the District Attorney’s Office.