Lawsuit alleges St. Paul improperly awarded stadium contractby Rupa Shenoy, Minnesota Public Radio,
Tim Nelson, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A lawsuit against St. Paul alleges the city improperly awarded a contract to build a new ballpark.
The Minnesota Taxpayer's League is asking a judge to stop plans to award Mendota Heights-based Ryan Construction the contract to build a St. Paul Saints stadium.
The city named Ryan as contractor on Sept. 14, the day after St. Paul won state funds of $25 million to put toward the stadium. The $54 million project will be located in Lowertown and is expected to seat about 7,000 fans when it opens in 2015. The city and the Saints team will pay the remaining cost.
Dean Thomson, who represents the plaintiffs, said other builders were not given a fair shot by the city to bid for the stadium construction.
"I can't imagine that there wouldn't be other competitive bidders for this project. Our town is blessed with a number of great contractors and designers. And there should be healthy competition for this project," Thomson said. "Now, Ryan is a great design builder itself. And if it truly is the best one for this project, it shouldn't have a problem getting the award for the project, after it's been competitively bid."
Taxpayers League president Phil Krinkie said the city of St Paul subverted state law.
"No open solicitation process, no notification, no public participation," Krinkie said. "So the only way we can see at this point to stop what we believe is a subversion of the open bidding law is to go to court."
Krinkie's group hopes a court will stop the contact process from moving forward.
City officials say they are reviewing the suit, but believe they awarded the bid legally. A spokesman for St Paul said officials may comment next week.
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MPR News reporter Tom Scheck contributed to this story.
Rupa Shenoy is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.