Garbage hauler sues city for contract shuffle


Minneapolis Refuse Inc. (MRI) has filed a lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis, alleging that city officials violated state law when they opened up the contract to new bidders.

As Kari VenDerVeen reports in the Downtown Journal, the lawsuit alleges that the city ignored a law requiring that MRI participate in a 180-day planning process before moving to reorganizing its trash hauling system. MRI has handled garbage hauling on the city’s west side for more than 35 years; the city’s Public Works Department handles east side residences.

“We’ve asked the city to comply with the state law and provide MRI with this 180-day procedure and because they have not, we have filed this suit on behalf of MRI,” said the company’s attorney, Mike Rothman.

City attorneys argue that the state law does not apply because Minneapolis had its own garbage contract regulations on the books before 1987, when the state law was passed. They add that the MRI contract, which is scheduled to expire December 31, 2007, is not affected by the bidding process.

The City Council on February 10 passed a resolution calling for a competitive bid on the garbage contract without a 180-day planning process. MRI’s request for a temporary restraining order was denied by a Hennepin County judge on March 23. The court will hear arguments from both parties on a motion for a temporary injunction on June 20.