Trammell Crow, the former project management company for Denver's expansion of the Colorado Convention Center, will pay $250,000 to the attorney's general office for its role in a bid-rigging scheme on the $233 million project.
“The actions of Trammell Crow’s former employee, Michael Sullivan, substantially undermined the integrity of the city’s procurement process at a significant cost to the city and Colorado residents,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser. His office previously reached a $650,000 settlement with Mortenson Construction, a contractor that shared information about the project with Trammell Crow to the exclusion of the other bidding companies.
Trammell Crow was responsible for preparing proposal documents and communicating with contractors. Its coordination with Mortenson gave that company an advantage over others in the bidding, Weiser alleged. An employee, whom Weiser identified as Sullivan, presented Mortenson’s calculations as his own, and through his preferential treatment, the company failed to represent the interests of Denver. The city fired Trammell Crow and was forced to delay the expansion once it found out.
“We are pleased that Trammell Crow has taken ownership for the actions of its former employee, and the settlement takes into account the company’s early cooperation in our investigation,” Weiser added.
The settlement agreement did not include any admission of wrongdoing from Trammell Crow or preclude any future charges against Sullivan. In addition to the quarter-million dollar payment, the company will have to make an annual ethics presentation and support programs for minority- and women-owned businesses.
In a statement, Trammell Crow said that it was pleased to reach a resolution to the allegations. "Our exhaustive internal investigation, led by a prominent national law firm, determined that this situation arose from the actions of one individual who violated Trammell Crow Company’s business values and principles," the company wrote. "We acted swiftly upon discovering the problem, terminated the individual’s employment, and cooperated fully with the City of Denver and other governmental agencies throughout the ensuing process."
An investigation into Sullivan is ongoing.
This story has been updated.