MIAMI, July 6, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --
Luggage wrapping and protection services company TrueStar Group is alleging improprieties and is suing Miami-Dade County and Safe Wrap of Florida in a bid to secure a new tender for Miami International Airport's exclusive baggage wrapping contract.
TrueStar, which previously won two bids for the service contract at Miami International, saw its concession taken away in 2013 in favour of competitor Safe Wrap in what TrueStar's CEO, Fabio Talin, calls "a House of Cards atmosphere of shady political dealings that are patently unfair."
TrueStar is alleging in its new lawsuit a series of improprieties as well as "a clear error of judgement and an action not based upon consideration of relevant factors."
"After years of service to passengers at Miami airport, we fairly won the tender as specified by the bidding rules. However, the commissioners then changed the usual rules by cancelling the award and directly assigned the tender to the losers. This does not make any sense since we offered the significantly higher bid and won. It was an arbitrary and capricious decision to take this contract away from us, and it should be investigated by the authorities and reversed," said Talin.
Talin called the reversal "a really mysterious and strange decision" and said the citizens of Miami would be best served "by a full and transparent investigation of what happened, including our suspicion of political interference in the normal process of awarding concessions."
Since awarding the contract to Safe Wrap in 2013, Miami-Dade has reduced the minimum guarantee, or rent required by the baggage wrapping concession to operate at Miami International, by 65%, from $9.6 million to $3.5 million in an expedited legislative process that bypassed the normal committee hearing. The revenue-sharing requirement was further reduced from 52% to 35%. In addition, Miami International has also eliminated the $1.8 million in back rent that Safe Wrap owed the airport.
Talin says that during his company's 3-year concession from 2010 to 2013, TrueStar paid more than $25 million in rent, while SafeWrap has only paid $4 million since 2013.
"This means that the tax payers and citizens of Miami-Dade County are getting around $40 million less from that contract than the amount that should be due to them. The situation is absurd, unfair and suspect," Talin stated.
"Why was the tender awarded to a company that pays millions of dollars less to the airport?" Talin asked. "This is not in the interest of the county nor in the interest of the citizens. Miami-Dade is missing out on many millions of dollars over a multi-year period by having SafeWrap handle the baggage-wrapping at Miami instead of TrueStar. How can that be allowed to continue?"
The lawsuit is now entering its final phase. Based upon the deposition testimony, Judge Jennifer Bailey is expected to decide later this summer on whether the case will be brought to trial.
SOURCE TrueStar Group