Conflicts of interest? Ask now, city says
Prospective developers of the Burlingame Ranch affordable housing who believe one of their competitors for the project has an unfair advantage should ask questions now.And any team member who may have a conflict of interest resulting from previous work for the city on Burlingame should disclose it now, according to John Worcester, city attorney.The Aspen City Council approved $30,000 contracts Monday with each of five development teams that have been chosen to compete in a design/build competition for Burlingame. The specter of conflicts or the appearance of conflicts has come up since the five finalists were announced, according to Mayor Helen Klanderud.”It’s a small town. We have a lot of local people involved in this,” she said.No specifics were mentioned, and Michelle Bonfils, the city’s project manager on Burlingame, said she couldn’t think of any conflicts.”Everyone knows who everyone is – who’s on each team,” she said.Local housing advocate Jim Curtis, a consultant with one team, participated on the task force that helped broadly design the project, but he was involved as an interested citizen, Bonfils said.Simply having worked for the city before doesn’t constitute a conflict, Worcester added.”Half of the city has worked for the city at some point,” he said.The contracts make it clear who would be disqualified from working on the project, according to Worcester.Teams should disclose potential conflicts or raise their concerns about other competitors before the contracts are signed, he said.
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