Global Spectrum wants to protest arena management selection


Thursday's Whirled reported that the losing team in the "competition" to run the new downtown Tulsa sports arena and the convention center feels cheated and wants to know how to file a formal protest. You'll recall that the decision to hire SMG was made a mere 24 hours after the competitors made their presentations. SMG was picked because their estimate of how much money the arena could make was higher than Global Spectrum's. Never mind that SMG's fees are higher than Global Spectrum's would have been.

Just think about that: They won the contract because they made up a wildly optimistic number. It didn't hurt that SMG had done consulting work for Tulsa Vision Builders and that Bart Boatright, the program manager for Tulsa Vision Builders, was responsible for recalculating the financial estimates from the bids for presentation to Mayor Bill LaFortune.

To Global Spectrum: No, there is no way to submit a formal protest. King Willie the Weak had final say, and it appears he already had his mind made up before you even had a chance to be heard. The only recourse would be the courts.

When Bill LaFortune was arguing that the City should pay Bank of Oklahoma $7.5 million that the City doesn't owe, he claimed that not paying the money would make Tulsa look unfriendly to business, and companies wouldn't want to come to Tulsa. But it's these questionable deals we're seeing at the City and the County that will deter companies from wanting to do business with local government, perhaps even from coming to Tulsa at all.

It costs a lot of money to put together a proposal for a government contract. Companies make the effort because they believe their proposals will be considered fairly. If the job always goes to the firm with the political connections, other companies won't bother bidding, and that means higher costs for the taxpayer. Worse than that, if Tulsa gets the reputation of being a city where you have to pay to play, like some sort of banana republic, then even companies that don't do government business will choose to locate elsewhere.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 25, 2005 11:57 PM.

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