Another review requested of contract tied to Oklahoma senator-lobbyist affair

Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, on Sunday joined officials with an Ada group chosen to receive a juvenile center 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.
BY JOHN ESTUS jestus@Opubco.com Modified: January 25, 2011 at 11:22 am •  Published: January 25, 2011
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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.

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