A Harris County judge will probably decide soon if Pappas Restaurants has to leave Hobby Airport by May 11, as the City of Houston has asked, or if it can keep running there while its legal fight with the city continues.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke out on the problem at a meeting of the Houston City Council on Wednesday. The meeting came before the court-ordered mediation between the two sides and an April 26 hearing on a temporary injunction. And, according to Turner, the outcome of the next meeting is already decided.
During a conversation with council member Michael Kubosh, who asked what the city would do if the restaurant group refused to leave the airport and if those steps would include an arrest, Turner said, “No, they need to start packing now. They’re going to leave the airport.”
Pappas Restaurants in Houston is in charge of a group of concessionaires called 4 Families of Hobby. This group has been running concessions at the South Houston airport since 2003. The group just missed out on the chance to run concessions there for another 10 years. Last month, the city gave a 10-year, $470 million contract to a joint venture group led by an American branch of Spain-based Areas.
After that, the Pappas group made a complaint with the city’s procurement office. When that complaint was turned down, the group filed a lawsuit on April 11 against the city and Areas. The case says that the city’s procurement process, which took years, was illegal, wrong, and unfair. It also asks a judge to cancel the city’s contract with Areas.
Pappas’ In an email sent Thursday, Christina Pappas said the company had nothing to say about what Turner had said. Turner’s office had declined to say anything about the case on the day it was filed. Last week, Judge Beau Miller turned down Pappas’s request for a temporary restraining order, which would have stopped the company from leaving the airport. That could still happen on April 26, when both sides will give their sides of the story at a temporary injunction meeting. Also check Texas couple Home Born Baby Will Be Returned By Dallas Court.
In the meantime, Miller told the city, a group of area restaurants, and Areas to meet this week for mediation. Christina Pappas said that her company was “looking forward” to hearing the results of a mediation session on Thursday. Turner, on the other hand, questioned the point of mediation at a council meeting on Wednesday.
He said, “Well, I’ve been a lawyer for more than 40 years.” “I don’t know how to act as a go-between for a purchase. But they will try to talk things out. (Miller) ordered it, so …”
Turner also said that the judge had turned down the temporary restraining order. When Kubosh asked, “How would you get them out?” Turner said, “I don’t know.”
Turner said, “Their contract with the airport is coming to an end.” “So even if we didn’t choose anyone new, their term is over, and they have to leave.”
In an interview with Houston Public Media last week, City Attorney Arturo Michel defended the way the city buys things. He also said that Pappas’s case is “very defensible.” Still, he said there is “always a concern about how things are presented and what a judge does.” You might check Texas Senate Bill Mandates Ten Commandments In Public Schools.
Below we have given a tweet about Pappas Restaurants‘ lawsuit against the City of Houston. You can see below:
NEW: City Attorney Arturo G. Michel tells @KHOU a judge just DENIED a temporary restraining order in Pappas Restaurants' lawsuit against the City of Houston and Areas HOU JV over a concessions contract at Hobby Airport.
Next hearing is planned for April 25 on a temp. injunction.
— Adam Bennett (@AdamBennettKHOU) April 13, 2023
In the lawsuit, Pappas says that its CEO got a phone call and a voicemail from William-Paul Thomas, who was Turner’s liaison to the city council at the time. This, the company says, was a violation of a city rule that says prospective vendors and most city employees can’t talk during the bidding process. Thomas retired last year after pleading guilty in a separate federal public corruption case and admitting to being part of a plan to take a cash bribe. The case was not related to the one he was involved in.
Michel said, “We are sure that we will win in the end.” “We think the process was clean, fair, and gives the City of Houston the best value.”