Fix Was in at Denver Airport, Vendors Say

     DENVER (CN) – Denver International Airport fixed a multimillion-dollar bid in favor of the newsstand company the Hudson Group, other concessionaires claim in court.
     DIA Retail Fashion and JAF Concessions sued the City and County of Denver and its Department of Aviation on Friday in Denver County Court.
     According to the Denver Post, the contract is worth $53 million for the winning bidder.
     The plaintiffs claim the Denver Airport did not give them a fair shot.
     During two recent requests for proposals, the vendors claim, “the airport repeatedly violated the Denver Revised Municipal Code, the Denver International Airport Concession Policy and the terms of the RFPs it published, all in favor of its single largest retail concessionaire, Dufry North America/The Hudson Group.”
     “These violations consist of dozens of ex parte communications between the Hudson Group and the Airport during the RFP process, including communications that led the Airport to change the RFP in Hudson’s favor and without notifying other bidders. Following these tainted RFP processes, the Airport awarded the concession opportunity to the Hudson Group.”
     DIA Retail appealed, asking that the contract be rebid and/or that the Hudson Group be disqualified, but a hearing officer denied it, the complaint states. After this, DIA claims, the airport “pressed the Hudson Group concession contract forward with the Denver City Council.”
     Both companies say the airport prohibit bidders from ex parte contact with airport staff during the RFP process, but that “(d)espite this, an agent of the Hudson Group told an Airport staff member that the person owed his job to the Hudson agent and asked the Airport staff member for the confidential contents of other bidders’ proposals. The Airport then withdrew the RFP rather than disqualify the Hudson Group.”
     The plaintiffs want the airport enjoined from going through with the Hudson deal until an administrative appeals process is finished in December.
     They are represented by Timothy Beyer with Bryan Cave.

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