UNM In Bidding Controversy Choosing Out Of State Firm With Higher Bid

New Mexico – A lawsuit unsealed this week claims University of New Mexico administrators steered the contract for a $60 million renovation project at The Pit to a company that had close ties with university president David Schmidly.

The two-year project to upgrade New Mexico's 44-year-old college basketball arena went to Tulsa, Okla.-based Flintco, despite Jaynes Corp. of Albuquerque submitting a lower initial bid.

A UNM spokeswoman says the university will issue a response later Thursday.

A Flintco spokesman says the company got the contract because it was the best qualified.

The lawsuit was filed under seal in October on behalf of several trade union groups under the New Mexico Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.

It says Schmidly developed a relationship with Flintco during his earlier tenure as president at Oklahoma State University.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.