ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - University of New Mexico President David Schmidly strongly denied allegations in a lawsuit filed against the company hired for the $60 million renovation of University Arena better known as The Pit.
In an interview Friday Schmidly told News 13 he would not comment in great detail about the lawsuit but added, "There are a lot of personal things in that petition that have been said about me that are not true."
The lawsuit was filed in October by several building-trades unions and unsealed Wednesday by the Attorney General's Office.
It alleges the CEO of Flintco, an Oklahoma-based company, used his relationship with Schmidly to secure the job at The Pit even though the Albuquerque-based Jaynes Corp. submitted a lower bid and received a higher score initially.
"This manipulation is very clear," said John Wertheim, the attorney representing the unions. "There are people scratching out numbers, writing new ones in to manipulate that score downward so that Flintco would illegitimately be awarded this contract."
It's not clear who manipulated those scores, but Wertheim said Schmidly's office tallied them.
All of this comes as Schmidly makes his return to work after spending the last four months recovering from surgery to remove a small cancerous tumor on his pancreas.
"In the course of removing that, my pancreas got all inflamed and infected and that's what produced the medical complications that caused me to be out a lot longer than anyone had ever anticipated," Schmidly said.
After losing 45 pounds and spending nearly two months in the hospital, Schmidly said he has gained between seven and 10 pounds in the last few weeks. He said he is also getting his strength back.
During the interview Schmidly took a stronger stance on the allegations than he had in an initial statement released on Thursday, when he said only that he was disappointed in the personal nature of the attacks.
"I had no special relationship with Flintco, none whatsoever, and every accusation that's in that petition is false, and I will defend it, and I look forward to defending it," Schmidly said.
Schmidly said he has already begun that process.
As far as his health is concerned, he said it's too early to say he is cancer-free, but he has another scan coming up in the next few weeks. His doctors tell him the prognosis is good, Schmidly said..
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