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Airport Board Denies Bid Request

September 21, 2004|Jennifer Oldham | Times Staff Writer

City airport commissioners rejected a request Monday from a bidder for a coffee concession at Los Angeles International Airport to reconsider a decision extending the contract of the existing concessionaire.

The airport commission decided earlier this month to put aside the bids for a new contract until it completes a master plan for airport concessions.

The bidder, Larry Emerine, president of Local Concepts, had charged that an airport commissioner who is the county's top labor leader led the effort, unfairly blocking Emerine's nonunion firm from winning the contract.

Local Concepts was the top-rated bidder for the concession to operate three coffee shops.

Emerine also said the commissioner, Miguel Contreras, had a conflict of interest because his wife heads a union that represents workers for another company competing for the contract.

On Monday, Emerine's attorney, Mike Keeley, asked the commission to take another vote, saying that Local Concepts' proposal could provide the airport $300,000 more per year than the current concessionaire, Java Java, now pays.

Commissioners refused and emphasized that they want to finalize the concessions master plan before reconsidering bids for the coffee concession.

"I'm troubled when the commission votes differently than someone wants us to and all of the sudden there's an implication that some other agenda was involved," said Commissioner Jerome Stanley. "Our job here is to act independently."

Contreras did not attend the meeting but previously denied that the issue of union jobs was a factor in his push to throw out bids and start the process over.

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