DFS Guam seeks stay of airport's concessionaire contract - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

DFS Guam seeks stay of airport's concessionaire contract

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 by Ken Quintanilla

Guam - It's been well over a year since Lotte Duty Free Guam took over the retail concession at the Guam International Airport. However, the former tenants DFS Guam isn't giving up its fight to overturn the contract award.

Over the summer, Lotte Duty Free Guam held an official grand opening of its retail transformation at the Guam International Airport - nearly a year after it officially took over the retail concessionaire contract. However, DFS Guam - the former tenants for over three decades, isn't giving up without a fight.

On Monday, DFS Guam filed a bid protest appeal with the Guam Office of Public Accountability. As part of the appeal, DFS Guam is asking the public auditor for an automatic stay of the award of contract until its bid protests are decided.

As we reported, following the contract's award to Lotte in May 2013, DFS Guam filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Guam as well as a bid protest appeal with the Guam OPA. Superior Court of Guam Judge Michael Bordallo in July last year dismissed the case for a lack of subject matter jurisdiction. DFS has argued the contract award was wrongfully and improperly obtained by Lotte.

In the motion, DFS is specifically asking the OPA to order GIAA to abide by the automatic stay as required by Guam law by refraining from taking any further action with regard to the RFP and acknowledging that Lotte has no legal right to occupy the airport concession space.

In a release, DFS legal counsel Joyce Tang says "DFS has consistently stated that, for the benefit of the public contracting process in Guam, and for the integrity of the airport concession award, it will continue its efforts before the OPA and other judicial bodies so that GIAA's and Lotte's improper conduct will come to light."

Lotte legal counsel Cesar Cabot is off island but tells KUAM that "Lotte has won the concessionaire bid fair and square." despite the filing, he says DFS is not entitled to an automatic stay under Guam law and the administrative rules. He says "it is quite clear that DFS did not timely file its request for protest nor did it timely file the request for stay, therefore they waived their right." he adds "this matter has been scrutinized before and Lotte has prevailed with the agency, the Superior Court and the Supreme Court along with all three tribunals. Lotte will continue to defend this contract and Lotte will prevail."

Acting Airport Executive Manager Peter Roy Martinez says the DFS filings are under review by their attorneys. He adds in the meantime, GIAA is moving forward with $110 million in capital projects funded with new bond money, financed in part by the revenues guaranteed under the new concession contract. He says "these projects will make the Guam airport a world class facility, fuel economic growth for the island and catapult us into the 21st Century."

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