Baumschlager Eberle Architekten

With the Digital Media House (DMH), Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (RBB) wanted to do everything right. The atrium building, which is to be integrated into the existing structure at the Berlin location between Masurenallee and Kaiserdamm, consisting of the radio building and the television center, is ultimately to become the centerpiece of the station in the future. News for all areas of the two-country institution, i.e. for the Internet and social media as well as for radio and television, are to be created here from a single source.

In order to make the best possible decision, 15 selected architects’ offices were asked to present their designs to a jury. If you take the specialist jury, the material jury and the experts involved together, more than 30 people were involved in the process.

Henner Mahlstedt, who has worked for construction companies such as Strabag and Hochtief for a long time and has been the managing partner of Mahlstedt Consultants in Essen for a number of years, was already one of the consultants at this stage. You should remember the name. Three winners emerged from the architectural competition, and in the end the design by Baumschlager Eberle Architects was convincing.

The general contractor has also been known since Tuesday. Implenia Hochbau GmbH in Leipzig is to build the digital media house by 2026. First of all, however, the exact plans and costs should be lashed down. In view of the current price development, the budget of 100 million euros is on shaky ground.

Via Implenia Germany, Implenia Hochbau belongs to the Swiss Implenia AG, based in the canton of Zurich. Henner Mahlstedt has been a member of the holding company’s board of directors since 2015. Position Vice President.

At the beginning of the week, a report by “Business Insider” raised the accusation that RBB, at the instigation of director Patricia Schlesinger, had “hired three consultants who have business relationships with the RBB chairman of the board” for central RBB construction projects. The broadcaster denied the allegations on Tuesday.

Irrespective of these allegations, the fact that Henner Mahlstedt continued to advise RBB on the digital media company after the architectural competition raises questions. Was Mahlstedt involved in the decision that the general contractor contract went to the Leipzig Implenia branch? Has the RBB compliance department checked for conflicts of interest?

In fact, Mahlstedt was still an advisor to RBB, as the broadcaster confirmed to the Tagesspiegel on request. “We also saw the risk of a conflict of interest and therefore had it extensively checked internally and externally,” the broadcaster said on Wednesday. During this time, Mahlstedt’s work as a consultant was suspended. But what was the process like in detail? The project implementation of the DMH was put out to tender throughout Europe. This also included awarding construction and planning services to a general contractor. In this process, it then became clear “that Mr. Mahlstedt is a member of the board of directors of the parent company of one of the bidders in the process”. Therefore, a law firm was commissioned to examine whether there was a conflict of interest in his person, which must lead to the termination of his activity in the procurement procedure.

“Taking all the circumstances of the facts into account, the law firm denied this,” the broadcaster summarized the test. This assessment was based on several points: “Such a conflict of interest does not exist if the offer from the company concerned does not show any irregularities, Mr. Mahlstedt confirms in writing that he has not exercised any influence in favor of the company concerned and the bidders are informed of the situation”. according to the RBB. In the opinion of the RBB compliance officer, too, these measures would have led to a minimization of the risk of a conflict of interest. She therefore agreed to the continuation of the proceedings.

Because the demands were met and the bidders were informed – and had given their consent in writing – Henner Mahlstedt was able to continue to be employed in the supervision of the award process, according to the RBB. However, the broadcaster would have been even better advised to make this process public after the recent allegations.