BALTIMORE (AP) — A minority contractors association is suing the city of Baltimore claiming the Board of Estimates awards contracts to large firms without considering minority contractors.

The suit brought by Arnold Jolivet, managing director of the Maryland Minority Contractors Association Inc., is seeking $40 million for the association. The lawsuit filed Wednesday alleges city officials regularly accept low bids from preferred contractors with the understanding that changes will be made later to increase the size of the contract.

The suit also asks that the court appoint an independent monitor to take over the city's contract bidding process.

A mayoral spokesman told The Baltimore Sun ( the lawsuit has no merit and City Solicitor George Nilson said he would vigorously defend the city.