ATL concessions: City halts contract with currency exchanger following protest

By David Pendered

This story has been corrected to state that the mayor has signed legislation authorizing a contract with Lenlyn.

Atlanta announced today that a contested airport concessions contract has been halted, following the city’s investigation into complaints filed by a losing vendor.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Jan. 5 had signed the legislation that awarded the contract to Lenlyn.

Atlanta’s news statement says that evidence submitted by a losing vendor was accurate, and sufficient to compel the city to halt the contract.

The contract was not among the $3 billion in food and beverage contracts the Atlanta City Council approved on Jan. 3. But the case has been closely watched by the losing food and beverage vendors because of its implications for those contracts.

The city’s statement, issued this afternoon, did not say what will happen next with the contract for a currency exchanger at the airport. The city could put the contract out for bid, or chose the one vendor who submitted a responsive bid.

Smith is reviewing the situation and will make his decision “shortly,” said Sonji Jacobs, spokesperson for the mayor.

Travelex, a currency exchanger, filed a formal protest to contest the city’s award to Lenlyn. Reed had signed the legislation Jan. 5, after Fulton County Superior Court Senior Judge Cynthia Wright wrote in a ruling that the city’s contracting process impedes companies from filing timely protests.

“This decision demonstrates that the City is open to hearing and acting on information relevant to contracting decisions, and that the City’s protest procedures are fair,” Atlanta’s procurement director, Adam Smith, said in a news release.

“These procedures will ensure the integrity of the contracting process for the Airport and the City as a whole,” Smith wrote.

Here is the news statement from the city:

Chief Procurement Officer Adam Smith has sustained Travelex’s protest of the contract award for the Foreign Currency Exchange Services contract at the Airport.

“City Council previously approved legislation awarding the contract to another proponent, which the Mayor signed on January 5, 2012, making the award final.

“Once the award was final, the City promptly released proposals and related documents to Travelex and other unsuccessful proponents, as well as to the general public.

“Travelex’s protest alleged deficiencies in the qualifications and experience of the winning proponent and supplied substantial credible evidence in support of its allegations, which evidence was previously unknown to the City.

“The City then conducted an independent investigation of Travelex’s allegations, confirmed the allegations, and promptly sustained Travelex’s protest, thereby halting the award of the contract to the previously selected proponent.”

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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