College arena contractor is approved despite conflict-of-interest concern


The state Board of Public Works voted yesterday to approve a contract award by the Maryland Stadium Authority that will put the company that hired the agency's top staffer in charge of building a $107 million arena at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The unanimous approval of the contract with Gilbane Building Co. came without comment by the board's members, Gov. Parris N. Glendening, Comptroller William Donald Schaefer and Treasurer Richard N. Dixon.

The Stadium Authority's executive director, Bruce H. Hoffman, has said he will resign April 13 to join Gilbane as a regional vice president. The contract, coupled with Hoffman's new job, was criticized by Common Cause/Maryland as a conflict of interest, but Dixon said members saw no problem with the award.

Hoffman, who was on a panel that recommended Gilbane in 1998 for preliminary work on the project, said he has recused himself from discussions about the project since the company approached him last year about a job. He accepted in September the post of regional vice president for Gilbane but agreed to stay with the state agency until April.

The Stadium Authority voted Tuesday to use Gilbane, subject to final approval by the Board of Public Works. Hoffman does not have a vote on the authority board, and he left the room during Tuesday's discussion and vote.

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