Bids? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Bids!

A very special arrangement between a former county official and a private company has been very, very profitable

In a letter last month to aviation department officials, ASII vice president John Gassett, in defending his company, stated that "it is painfully clear that [Air Terminaling] has systematically attempted to delay Dade County Aviation Department's fuel-farm bid process. We hope it has not gone unrecognized that ATI's efforts have been to discredit everyone involved rather than win this competition by promoting its performance since taking over the management of the fuel facility."

Neither Rossman nor Korge returned calls seeking comment for this story. The company's spokesman offered this written response: "Since the public bidding process for the...management contract is underway, it is inappropriate to discuss the particulars of that process until its completion. Air Terminaling, Inc. has acted in full, complete, and timely accordance with the requirements of this process as established by Dade County authorities, and the company continues to provide excellent fueling services to the many carriers that use Miami International Airport."

Two weeks ago Dade County Manager Joaquin Avi*o agreed to recommend to commissioners that they accept ASII as the new manager of the fuel farm. A decision by the full commission could come early next month. Unless, of course, Air Terminaling succeeds in its latest attempts to delay the process. "We've been trying to move this matter along for years now without success," notes Frank Erickson, a senior vice president with American Airlines and the chairman of a liaison committee between the airport and the airline industry. "There have been a lot of roadblocks. I don't want to speculate on why. All I know is that it has been a cumbersome process. And it's not over yet.

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