Atlanta Mayor Reed signs contested airport contracts, but litigation could continue

By David Pendered

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed this morning signed a set of contracts with companies that will provide food and beverages to passengers at Atlanta’s airport, ending this phase of a process that started more than a year ago.

The signing of contracts does not mean the end of controversy over the airport concessions contracts. Companies that did not get a contract may still file a lawsuit contesting the city’s handling of the contracts. Several administrative appeals remain pending at City Hall.

Reed evidently signed the contracts minutes after he told reporters at an unrelated event that a Fulton County judge had denied one or more motions requesting a restraining order to prevent the mayor from signing the contracts.

This set of contracts is worth over $3 billion over the span of more than seven years. Atlanta has said it is the largest single package of airport concessions contracts in the history of North American airports.

Reed said today the judge’s ruling affirms the city’s handling of the contracts for all food and beverage concessions, plus a few retail contracts.

Fulton County Superior Court Senior Judge Cynthia Wright signed an order that rejected one or more requests for a temporary restraining order to prevent the mayor from signing the contracts.

Reed said he is satisfied with the outcome.

“The facts speak for themselves,” Reed said. “We’re going to make more than $20 million more in revenue than we did under the previous agreements…. I hope, now that we’ve been through all this, that folks can celebrate the … fact that with the opening of the international terminal we’re going to hire more than 1,200 folks who probably are out of work right now.”

Reed met with reporters after leading the groundbreaking of a Wal-Mart at Historic Westside Village, about a mile west of the Georgia Dome.

 

 

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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