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SBD/Issue 55/Facilities & Venues
Memphis Council Questions How Heisley Company Won Arena Bid
Published December 2, 2002
Members of the Memphis City Council "raised questions about a possible conflict of interest last week" after learning K.C.-based CECO Concrete Construction, which is owned by Grizzlies Owner Michael Heisley's private family trust, had landed a contract to do some work on the FedExForum, according to Blake Fontenay of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. CECO's hiring was "one of many issues that prompted council members to call for an independent audit" of the $250M arena project. But John Wood, Senior VP for the project's general contractor, M.A. Mortenson Co., said that CECO won the job "fair and square" after nine national firms "were invited to bid." Wood added that CECO's $2.9M estimate was "in line with the bid the company later submitted," while the other preliminary estimates came in at $3.8-4.3M. Wood: "CECO was the obvious choice, and we're very pleased to have them. The fact that they are owned somewhere along the way by the Heisley corporation is just a happy coincidence, as far as we're concerned." Heisley added, "I don't believe there's a conflict of interest. I would be astounded if we didn't do everything above board" (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 12/1).