Mayor’s Office of Communications
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 2500 • Atlanta, Georgia 30303
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 09/10/12
City of Atlanta Wins Again in Airport Concessions Contract Dispute
ATLANTA – Fulton County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Wright today dismissed virtually all claims in a lawsuit filed by losing airport concessions proponent SSP America, Inc. SSP claimed in the lawsuit that the city’s procurement appeals process was unconstitutional, and that the city violated the Georgia Open Records and Open Meetings Acts.
From the moment SSP learned it would not be awarded a contract, it has unsuccessfully challenged the airport concessions procurement process in both administrative and judicial arenas. Previously, Judge Wright denied SSP’s attempt to prevent the city from signing the concessions contracts, and Procurement Appeals Hearing Officer George Maynard then denied SSP’s protest of the award of contracts to other proponents.
In rejecting SSP’s constitutional claim, Judge Wright held that SSP, as a losing bidder, “had no expectation of or entitlement to a property interest in the award of the contracts at issue,” and that the protest and hearing process set forth in the city Procurement Code “unequivocally provides for a fair and impartial hearing.”
Judge Wright also dismissed SSP’s Open Meetings Act claim challenging the confidentiality of the concessions selection process, finding that the Open Meetings Act “demonstrates an intent by the legislature to maintain the confidentiality of this selection process,” and that opening evaluators meetings to the public “would frustrate the very purpose of this process.”
Judge Wright did not rule on SSP’s request for attorneys’ fees on its Open Records Act claims, which will be argued in a separate hearing at a date to be determined by Judge Wright.
“We are very pleased with the Court’s Order, which validates the city’s procurement and appeals process,” City Attorney Cathy Hampton said. “The city will continue to respond to any further challenges that may come.”
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