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St. Paul officials reviewing lawsuit over no-bid choice for Saints ballpark

A Taxpayers League lawsuit challenges the city’s award of the design and construction contract without competitive bids.

St. Paul city officials are reviewing a lawsuit filed Friday by the Taxpayers League of Minnesota, which challenges the city’s award of the design and build contract for a downtown ballpark without seeking competitive bids.

The city used its considerable lobbying clout to seek state aid to build the new ballpark in Lowertown for the minor-league St. Paul Saints baseball team. And the city did finally get $25 million in state funding last month; it also will provide $17 million, while the team puts in $1.5 million now, with the promise of repaying $8.5 million in bonds from naming rights and other new revenue.

The Taxpayers League objects to the way the city hired Ryan Cos. to design and build the ballpark, without seeking bids.

“I don’t know who, where or how they dreamt all this up,” Phil Krinkie, Taxpayer League president, told Finance & Commerce.

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The lawsuit seeks an injunction to stop the process.

The mayor’s office and the city attorney say they are reviewing the lawsuit. We’ll update the situation when they provide a response.

“We believe this is in the best interest of the city, the project, and the taxpayers,” Brad Meyer, Parks and Recreation department spokesman, told Finance & Commerce last week.

Other reviews of the hiring plan are also in the works.

GOP state Rep. Linda Runbeck has called for a hearing on the ballpark contract, and the Minnesota Management & Budget department is reviewing state bonding bill language to determine if the city’s actions were proper, Finance & Commerce says.