SAINT PAUL, Minn. -- A conservative political group wants to put a halt to construction on the new Lowertown Regional Ballpark, which is on track to become the new home of the St. Paul Saints baseball club.
The Taxpayers League of Minnesota filed suit, claiming the City of St. Paul violated the state's competitive bidding laws by awarding a contract to Ryan Companies in September.
The suit seeks to force the city to void its design-build contract with Ryan Companies, and open the project up for bids again.
"Citizens of St. Paul had no notice, contracting firms had no notice," Taxpayers League President Phil Krinkie told KARE.
"It was just a matter a matter of a wink and a nod and here's a $38 million contract."
The new stadium will be built on the site of the old Gillette/Diamond Products warehouse in the Lowertown section of downtown Saint Paul. It's being financed by the city, the Saints and a $25 million economic development grant from the State of Minnesota.
The suit claims Ryan Companies was hired to design and build it without undergoing the traditional competitive bidding process.
"How does the taxpayer know they're getting the lowest bid?" Krinkie said. "How do they know the company that is selected truly has the capability and the background?"
Jerry Hendrickson of the St. Paul City Attorney's Office told KARE Monday, "We believe the City has the authority to award this contract, and we'll defend the lawsuit."
The state gave the city permission to issue what's known as a "design-build" contract for the project, which means the same company can design and build it. It's a common technique designed to help put projects on the fast track.
The question for the court will be whether that design-build authorization was also meant to allow the City to skip the bid process.
Ryan Companies has built a variety of private and public sector projects, ranging from the State Department of Revenue headquarters in St. Paul, to a huge mixed-use residential and retail project on Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.
The company also has a history of working with the St. Paul Saints as a design consultant for the past five years.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)