Denver secures $9M settlement to resolve public procurement misconduct

Published on December 30, 2020

DENVER – The City and County of Denver received a $9 million settlement to end the civil claims asserted against Mortenson Construction(PDF, 764KB) and Trammell Crow Company(PDF, 636KB) for violating the city’s public procurement rules during the early stages of planned renovation work at the Colorado Convention Center. The city had sought procurement of a design-build contractor.

“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 B. Hancock said. “This case involved a serious breach of Denver’s well-established procurement rules by companies that should have known better. The watchful efforts of city employees in this administration uncovered the breach and it is because of their efforts, the leadership of Executive Director Eulois Cleckley at the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure and the tireless work of the City Attorney, Kristin Bronson, and her team, that Denver’s reputation for ethical bidding and procurement remains intact.”

The Denver District Attorney’s Office (DAO) initially investigated the claims against Mortenson and Trammell Crow at the city’s request in December 2018. Shortly thereafter, the Colorado Attorney General (AG) joined that investigation to review whether the companies had violated the Colorado Antitrust Act. The city fully cooperated with this effort which the AG ultimately settled in April.

Once the AG had settled its portion of the claims, the negotiations turned to settling the city’s delay damages civil claims. The settlement agreement requires:

  • $9M cash payment to make the city whole ($4.5M from Trammell Crow and Mortenson respectively), which will reimburse the project for damages and resolve civil claims
  • Mortenson to not bid on city contracts for 3 years
  • Public apology to the city

“Mortenson's actions in the procurement of the Colorado Convention Center project were contrary to who we are as a company and were completely unacceptable,” CEO Dan Johnson wrote.“We recognize in addition that our actions caused significant harm to the City. We are truly sorry, and we accept responsibility for our actions.”

“We are pleased to have resolved all matters related to the Colorado Convention Center expansion project. We deeply regret the disruption that was caused to the expansion project and apologize again to the City and the people of Denver,” Trammell Crow Company Senior Managing Director Bill Mosher said.  “We now look forward to devoting our full energies to helping our great city, and our clients who do business here and elsewhere in Colorado, to prosper in the years ahead.”

“We expect anyone doing business with Denver to follow the rules and we will defend any threat to the integrity of our process to the fullest,” Denver City Attorney Kristin M. Bronson said.  “We want to thank the entire city team that worked to not only uncover this misconduct, but elevated the issue, investigated it thoroughly, and has now ensured that taxpayers were paid back every penny they lost.”