The firm that has managed the Boardwalk Hall and Atlantic City Convention Center for almost 20 years recently filed a lawsuit against the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority claiming that the agency used faulty procurement practices.
The firm, SMG, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on November 30 with claims centered on a request for proposals issued in August seeking a firm to manage the two Atlantic City facilities. SMG currently has a contract for the job, which is set to expire on December 31, 2012.
SMG’s suit claims that the proposal violates state law, saying that arbitration is the only way to resolve a disagreement about the process instead of the legal process. A letter that was sent to the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority President Jeffery Vasser disputes the makeup of the ACCVA’s selection committee. This includes Casino Reinvestment Development Authority Executive Director John Palimeri and Atlantic City Alliance CEO Liza Cartmell.
The letter is claiming that the committee is legally flawed due to the fact that it included individuals who have no authority over the operations of the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority. Legislation that was passed over a year and a half ago mandated that the ACCVA merge into CRDA, though that merger has yet to take place.
According to SMG Attorney Christopher Hartwyk, “The CRDA and Alliance simply have no legal authority – indeed no business – being involved in, much less scoring and influencing the outcome of a public procurement carried out pursuant to ACCVA’s enabling legislation.”
The inclusion of Cartmell on the committee is laid out specifically in the letter, which points out that as the head of the Alliance, a nonprofit marketing entity, she is not subject to financial disclosure requirements and public official ethic rules. The attorney for ACCVA, John Donnelly, stated that the proposal process was handled properly, noting that arbitration is an accepted form of dispute resolution that is generally faster and more economical than going through the court system.
The Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority board is still planning on meeting via teleconference to award the contract, Donnelly stated.
Source: Manager of Boardwalk Hall and Atlantic City Convention Center sues tourism panel