Judge removes himself from I-35W bridge lawsuit
St. Paul, Minn. — (AP) - A Ramsey County judge cited a conflict of interest and removed himself Tuesday from the lawsuit over the bidding process for the new Interstate 35W bridge.
District Judge Steven Wheeler said his wife, a lawyer at Travelers Cos. Inc., often works with several local contractors who submitted failing bids for the rebuilding contract.
The state eventually gave the contract to a joint venture of Colorado-based Flatiron Constructors and Florida-based Manson Construction.
Later, two taxpayers with experience as construction industry executives sued the state alleging the contract with Flatiron is illegal and harms taxpayers.
The lawsuit seeks to stop the state Transportation Department from going ahead with the project and voiding the $234 million contract with Flatiron.
Flatiron's bid was the most expensive and tied for the longest build time, but the company beat three other teams on a technical score included rankings for quality and aesthetics.
If the judge were to order that the bidding process be re-opened it would have clear implications for the losing bidders.
The case was reassigned to Judge Edward Cleary.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)