Little Rock Airport Commissioner Carl Johnson has more to say about the awarding of all the minority share of the airport concessions contract to Marcus Devine, recently displaced as head of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality. In a letter to other airport commissioners, he wrote that Devine isn't certified to be a minority contractor and the process by which Devine was chosen has not been "fair and above reproach." Johnson has said he favors splitting the 30 percent share of the concessions business with two minority contractors. Devine had worked out a deal with the contractor to take the whole 30 percent, although at least one other firm has expressed an interest.
LETTER FROM DR. CARL JOHNSON TO AIRPORT COMMISSIONERS
Concerning HMS host, they as well as us wanted this process to be fair and above reproach. It has not. First of all, we did not want another Bill Walker incident which is developing and may go further. Initially the DBE's would have no support financially from Host and put their own money into the venture. Next, the company would have experience and be in operation for at least 2 to 3 years or a significant time. Next, the company should be DBE certified going into the deal. In order to be DBE certified, a company much be in existence for at least 2 years to be certified as a DBE by the Transportation Department. Mr. Devine's company has neither the EXPERIENCE, NOT BEEN IN OPERATION (no employees, no payroll - similar to Bill Walker) FOR 2 YEARS AND IS NOT DBE CERTIFIED. When checking with the Highway Dept. they indicate his DBE certification had been rejected because of the above reasons. How can we support this when there are certified company out there? One company in particular stated, they were never contacted which led me back to yesterday's meeting when Commissioner Miller chastised HMS host for failure in their "due diligence" process in notifying and handling this "mess." It is our duty to be responsible stewards of the airport and to make sure that Companies such as HMS host do their due diligence, be fair and do what is right for the Airport and the Community. This doesn't look good nor does it smell good. What are we going to do?
Carl Johnson, M.D.