Monday, November 7, 2005
City Hall Raises Eyebrows Over Airport Contracts Florida Company Awarded $225K Worth Of Contracts
KGTV-TV Ch 10 (ABC), San Diego (CA)
SAN DIEGO — Top City Hall officials are examining $225,276 worth of contracts that San Diego airports director Tracy Means awarded an acquaintance, it was reported Monday. The examination centers on more than a dozen contracts that Means steered to Airport Business Solutions, a Florida consulting firm, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Over the eight years that Means has managed Montgomery and Brown fields, the company was hired 16 times to perform studies and other services on behalf of the airports division, according to records obtained by the newspaper.
“We see the number of contracts and are asking why,” Mario Sierra, director of the General Services Department, which took responsibility for the airports from the Real Estate Assets Department on July 1, told the Union-Tribune. “By asking that question, it does not mean we think anything is wrong. We want to know why.”
Sierra said the relationship between Means and company executives is a critical element of the probe.
Over the past five years, the Airports Division has not hired any other consultants, although there are scores of firms, many of them local, that do the same work, he told the Union-Tribune.
One of the principals in Airport Business Solutions is Roberta Thompson, a former director of Los Angeles County’s airports. Thompson and Means are members of the American Association of Airport Executives and serve together on an association committee, according to the Union-Tribune.
Means told the newspaper she did not know why Airport Business Solutions received so many city contracts. She said she barely knew Thompson and said her former boss, William Griffith, approved all the agreements.
But Griffith, who ran the city’s real estate department until he resigned last month, told the Union-Tribune that he approved only two contracts for Airport Business Solutions.