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Minnesota Surpreme Court grants review in transit case against Rochester

Fri, Jun 20th, 2014
Posted in All State of Minnesota

The Minnesota Supreme Court has granted a petition for review of the City of Rochester’s procurement of transit services two years ago. Rochester City Lines, the family owned business that founded the local bus service and ran it for nearly 50 years, filed suit seeking to set aside an award made to the Cincinnati-based subsidiary of United Kingdom-headquartered First Transit citing concerns over irregularities in the handling of competition for the contract.

The City claims that “best value” procedures allow it to avoid review of its discretionary evaluation of contract proposals. RCL has raised concerns that the process was used to mask over favoritism, failure to follow published rules for selecting a contractor, and prohibited conflicts of interest.

The Olmsted County District Court granted judgment to the City without a trial to and the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld that ruling. Now, the Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered that the matter be presented to it for a final decision. The Supreme Court also granted permission to the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota to file a “friend of the court” brief in support of RCL’s position in the case.

“The decision by the Supreme Court to review this case gives RCL great hope that the courts will not allow otherwise prohibited misconduct under the mask of administrative discretion. This case really is all about fair and open competition,” said Dan Holter, RCL’s general manager. Oral argument in the case is anticipated for sometime late in the year according to attorney Steven A. Diaz of Washington, DC, lead counsel for RCL.

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