Internal auditor examining bid process for Fort Worth parking contract

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A Fort Worth city auditor is examining whether the parking management contract for the Will Rogers Memorial Center was awarded fairly, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

The bidding process was discussed by City Manager David Cooke on Sept. 12 during a hearing about the termination of former Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald.

The newspaper reported that, during questioning, Cooke said the Kirk Slaughter, former head of the public events department, had filed a complaint about the bidding process. The parking contract was awarded to Trail Drive Management Corp., a nonprofit runs the city-owned Dickies Arena.

 “So once Kirk made that allegation, I turned that over to the — our internal auditor — to do an investigation,” Cooke said, according to the deposition.

Cooke said in the deposition he didn’t believe the issue was a criminal matter. He didn’t reveal details about the allegation.

In a statement, city officials said that after the contract was signed, a now-former employee said he had felt pressured to make sure the contract was awarded to Trail Drive.

Trail Drive Management Corp. issued a statement to the Star-Telegram saying that it had responded to a request for proposal from the city in spring 2018.

“The City subsequently informed Trail Drive that our response was selected as the best proposal, and Trail Drive entered into an agreement with the City of Fort Worth to manage the Will Rogers Memorial Center parking,” the statement read.

 The 10-year contract was signed in December.

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