Losing bidders file restraining order against city over airport contracts

by: Jodie Fleischer Updated:

ATLANTA,None - Channel 2 Action News has learned several companies who lost out on airport concessions contracts are now asking a judge to block leaders at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport from signing deals with the winning vendors.

Late Friday, an attorney representing three of the losing bidders, Midfield Concessions Enterprises, Take-Off Concessions and Atlanta Airport Restaurants, filed a request for a temporary restraining order.

Many of the losing vendors began protesting the fairness of the selection process before the City Council even voted. They criticized the city for cancelling the first round of bids after they were submitted and starting the process over again, presumably to save some politically connected bidders with errors in their bid packages from being disqualified.

The contracts are expected to generate an estimated $3 billion in revenue over 10 years.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed already signed the legislation. The city deadline for the protest period is the close of business on Tuesday, so after that, the airport could move forward with signing those contracts at any time.

The three companies are claiming the city's process by which losing bidders can appeal is unfair and unconstitutional.


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There were questions about when the appeals deadline really is, issues with how much the companies have to pay to appeal and concerns about the city employee who decides which, if any, appeals are successful.

The restraining order also claims the city violated Georgia's Open Records Act by withholding information the companies needed to file those appeals until very late in the process.

A city spokesman said the law department will review the request for the temporary restraining order and decide how to proceed. He called the filing a last-minute effort to stall a process that he described as open and ethical.

Sources tell Channel 2 Action News a fourth company, SSP, has also filed a separate restraining order request and is already scheduled for a hearing Tuesday.

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