Another review has been requested into the process used to award a multimillion-dollar state contract to clients of a lobbyist romantically linked to a state senator.
But this time, the request has come from the senator himself and the group that won the contract.
Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, on Sunday joined officials with an Ada group chosen to receive the contract to call on new Attorney General Scott Pruitt to conduct what would be the third review of the bidding process used to award the contract.
The $10 million-a-year contract is for a new juvenile detention center. The request for a new review comes as state officials mull whether to rebid the contract, which has been dogged by bid-rigging allegations.
“While the process has been reviewed and cleared twice before by Drew Edmondson's office, a new set of eyes and a third review may stop the unfair attacks on the process,” a news release from the Ada Jobs Foundation said.
Joining Coates in calling for a new review were Ada legislators Rep. Todd Thomsen and Sen. Susan Paddack, who are supporters of the state's decision to award the contract to the Ada group.
The contract has not been signed.
The Ada group said if the bidding process is flawed, it would raise a flag that all state contracts awarded through the process are questionable.
Ada and other communities have been aggressively pursuing the juvenile center contract for the past year.
The Legislature passed a bill last year asking the Office of Juvenile Affairs for a new maximum-security juvenile center. Bidding for the contract began in summer.
The agency announced in November that the contract would be awarded to the Ada group, which had proposed to build a juvenile academy with little security near Ada and expand an existing maximum-security juvenile detention center in Tecumseh.
Failed bidders have said the juvenile academy isn't what the Legislature or agency requested when asking for bids for a new juvenile center.
House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, earlier this month requested another delay of the contract signing so he could review whether the proposal met the Legislature's intent.
The contract signing previously had been delayed following revelations that members of the Ada group were working with lobbyist Haley Atwood, 30, who had been having an affair with Coates, 60, while the two worked together to steer the contract to the Ada group.
Coates and Atwood have said they pushed for the group to win the contract but have denied wrongdoing in doing so.
Previous attorney general's reviews of the bidding process found it was properly administered and that the senator and lobbyist's affair could not have influenced the bidding process.
A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office Monday did not respond to a request seeking comment on the request for a new review.
Thomsen said they also want the attorney general to look at others involved in the bidding process and give an opinion on whether the bid process is flawed.
“If it's flawed for us, its possibly flawed for other contracts too,” Thomsen said.