Mayor Ricardo Ehrlich signed this week the concession of Carrasco Hotel to Codere group, winner of the tender process. The file was also sent to the Department Council, where it is expected to be approved in a quick bureaucratic procedure.
The National Audit Court (TCR) returned last week the Carrasco Hotel Casino file to Montevideo Council. It did not make any statement on the matter, because it considers that it will be able to do it after Mayor Ehrlich and the Department Council approve the tender to the winning company.
According to the secretary of the local council, Jorge Rodríguez, the council „know that the file could be returned“ by the court. However –it assured-, the order of the procedure was changed in order to please „a petition of the opposition,” talking about the National Party.
Rodríguez admitted that it was performed that way in order to “defend the transparency of the process”, which had been questioned by several politicians and businessmen. Indirectly, he mentioned that the opposition was not aware of the steps that the bureaucratic procedure should follow in this tender.
However, the decree of the Montevideo Department Council which told the Council to call to a tender, warned that it should have its consent. „So, the intervention of the Audit Court to control the procedure should be verified after the moment in which the Department Council approves the performance of the Mayor,” pointed TCR in its resolution.
Rodríguez insisted saying that „listening to the suggestion made from the opposition”, they left the evaluation of the matter “to the criterion of the Audit Court”. “It was a gesture to guarantee the transparency of the process. But we were going to go to the Council and then we were going to go to the court again”, assured Rodríguez.
TCR also understood that, with the advance of the tender process, an opinion of the entity would suppose a „prejudice“ on the question. Technically, the court is in favor of the criterion according to which state entities must bring the backgrounds before approving the tender. The instance must be complied once the tender has been granted, „but before the beginning of the execution.”
The formal steps in the Department Council may last a month, especially due to bureaucratic issues and not due to debates of the representatives, because the aim of the opposition is to conclude this quickly.
Last March 30th, 73 days after the result of the tender was released, Mayor Ehrlich handed in the file to president of TCR, Guillermo Ramírez. The court had it a few days and the tender was delayed again, until it was seen and underestimated by its technical services.
On top of granting the business to Codere-Sofitel group and sending the file to the Council, it will answer the latest observations to the process, presented by the consortium that obtained the second place, Hyatt-Liberman. Hyatt-Liberman group declares that the City of Montevideo will lose us$ 903.000 a month if the tender is brought to Codere-Sofitel, and the negative balance will be of us$ 325.2 million in the 30 years in which the winner will manage the casino hotel in Carrasco.
Codere- Sofitel group obtained 79.43 points in the tender, of a total of 100. In the second place, it was Hyatt-Liberman with 70.64.