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COMPTON : Schools Ordered to Pay Food Services Firm

October 27, 1994|EMELYN CRUZ LAT

A federal judge has ruled that Compton Unified School District owes $2.2 million to a food service management company that operated the district's school lunch programs for three years.

District Judge William Rea in Los Angeles ruled earlier this month that the district breached its contract with United School Food Services, a partnership of Marriott School Services Inc. and National Business Services Inc.

Howard A. Allen, an attorney for the company, said the issue was simple: His client provided food and services, but did not get paid. The company filed the lawsuit in 1992.

The district refused to pay part of the company's management fee and other costs, attorney Melanie Lomax contended, because the company ran up millions of dollars of deficits over three years, rather than generating revenue for the district as promised.

"During their three-year tenure, the program was $4 million in the red," Lomax said. "Because of that non-performance, the district is not liable." The district has appealed.

The district signed a contract with the company to manage and operate its lunch program from 1989 to 1991. The contract called for the district to pay the company a management fee and the costs of food purchases. The district failed to make these payments in the last months of the contract, the judge ruled.

The district has hired a food services director and now manages its own school lunch program.

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