|Billy Corey's War against the City too Busy to Hate|
Have you read those two articles on the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and how the first Black mayor of Atlanta - Maynard Jackson - mandated that 25 percent (eventually becoming 35 percent) of all contracts go to minority-owned firms?
Alright, let's now look back to 2010. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported this, Jury finds for Corey Airport Services in lawsuit against Harstfield-Jackson, By Péralte C. Paul and Steve Visser:
A federal jury on Monday awarded $17.5 million in damages to an Atlanta businessman who claimed the City of Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport illegally steered a lucrative indoor advertising contract to a competitor with deep political connections.
The verdict, which came after nearly eight hours of deliberations, called for Billy Corey and his company, Corey Airport Services, to receive $8.5 million in compensatory damages, to be paid in thirds by the city, Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. and businesswoman Barbara Fouch.
The jury also awarded Corey $9 million in punitive damages. Clear Channel was ordered to pay $8.5 million and Fouch $500,000.
The verdict was an embarrassment for Hartsfield-Jackson and City Hall that recalled the political maneuvering and outright corruption that came to symbolize the operation of the airport during the 1980s and 1990s.
The city said it will appeal Monday's verdict.
"The city is disappointed with today's verdict in the litigation involving the 2002 airport advertising procurement," Peter Andrews, Atlanta's acting city attorney, said in a statement. "The city maintains that the process used in the airport advertising procurement was fair and lawful and that all those involved acted with integrity. The city respects the judicial process, but does not believe the verdict is supported by the evidence presented at trial."
Corey charged the city violated his rights and its own bidding rules in awarding the contract to Clear Channel and Fouch, its minority partner, whose business interests at the airport go back to 1981.
Clear Channel and Fouch won the 2002 contract, though Corey contended in his suit, filed in 2004, that his bid was better and would have netted the city more revenue.
Corey said his firm would rebid for the contract the next time the city opens it up. A self-made millionaire who grew up poor in Cabbagetown, Corey complained the contract hadn’t been bid since 2002, when he said he made the best offer for the $9 million contract.
“It [the contact] has been in the same hands for 30 years. That is what this fight is all about,” he said. “After getting into this thing, I saw how corrupt [the process] was.”
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation in 2002 found that the majority of airport contracts were awarded to campaign contributors and close friends of former mayors Maynard Jackson and Bill Campbell.Cronyism. It will always be part of the human experience. But racial cronyism, of a variety that deprives a city (even The Black Mecca) of additional revenue... well, only in BRA would this be tolerated. The AJC reported during the trial this:
The former general manager for Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport testified in a federal trial Monday that former Mayor Bill Campbell barred her from bidding out an airport advertising contract because he didn't want his politically connected friend to lose it.
Angela Gittens, airport general manager from 1993 to 1998, said Campbell rebuffed her attempts to solicit bids for the lucrative indoor billboard contract and the two got into a "heated" argument over the issue, she said in a videotaped deposition.
The mayor's friend, Barbara Fouch, is a minority partner with Clear Channel, which still controls indoor billboard advertising at Hartsfield-Jackson.
"At some point, the mayor told me not to bid it out, not to tender it," Gittens testified, recounting a 1996 conversation with Campbell. "She was a friend of his and he did not want her hurt."
Fouch, Clear Channel, the city and the airport are defendants in the federal lawsuit filed by Corey Airport Services in 2004. Gittens was the plaintiff's final witness.
Owner Billy Corey charged that Fouch's cozy relationship with Atlanta City Hall led to the woman securing the contract when it was rebid in 2002.
Campbell, who went to federal prison for two years before his 2008 release, could not be reached for comment. Fouch's billboard advertising interests at the airport go back to 1981. She partnered with a firm that eventually was acquired by Clear Channel.
It was a policy started by Jackson that Mr. Corey challenged in federal court, and initially won. Just what did that policy entail?:
In Atlanta, it was the construction of the city's airport almost 25 years ago, and the desire to give minority-owned businesses a hand in obtaining lucrative construction contracts, that caused then-mayor Maynard H. Jackson Jr. to begin the city's first race-based preference program.
At the time Jackson instituted the first set-aside program, less than 1 percent of contracts in Atlanta went to minority-owned businesses. Today, under the leadership of Mayor Bill Campbell, the city has an established goal of committing 35 percent of all contracts to minority contractors.So since roughly 1974, the City of Atlanta has been creating an artificial class of Black millionaires, at the same time disenfranchising potential entrepreneurs because of the color of their skin. Didn't some God King say we should only judge by the color of ones content...? Wasn't Atlanta his hometown too?
Back to the future. The AJC reported on June 4th Appeals court tosses judgment in airport case:
A federal appeals court tossed out a jury verdict in favor of Corey Airport Services in the company's longrunning dispute with the Atlanta airport and one of its contractors.
The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Monday that Corey’s “conspiracy claims” involving an advertising contract it failed to win were too vague.
Corey, which lost the contract in 2002, claimed the city of Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International broke the law by steering the contract to a competitor with political connections, Clear Channel Outdoor Inc. One of its principals, Barbara Fouch, was a longtime friend of the late former Mayor Maynard Jackson.
After a federal jury agreed and awarded $17.5 million in damages to Corey, the city last year settled its share with Corey for $3.9 million and admitted no wrongdoing. The appeals court ruling effectively vacates the portion of the damages that were to be paid by Clear Channel and Fouch.Could this whole incident be headed to the Supreme Court of the United States? Look, the amount of money wasted on just one airport over a near 40-year time span (the money left on the table because of racial cronyism -- which blinded The Blacks in charge of Atlanta from actually utilizing the bidding process for garnering the most beneficial and lucrative deals) could have been used in far more realistic manners. Like, the repatriation (er... redistribution) of Black people from some of the nations worst public housing in the inner-city of Atlanta to... the once crime-free and virtually all-white suburbs of Atlanta.
But the Billy Corey experience (thus far) with the Judicial Branch of the United States is illustrative of just who the government favors, and just who the government wants to promote. Any and all discrimination against white people in the present will be justified on the grounds of past discrimination against Black people (and increasingly every "disadvantaged" group real or made up); and and all future discrimination against white people will be justified as merely the logical conclusion of Operation Poetic Justice: what whitey did to the Amerindians, we now do to you.
An article by Dale Cardwell of the Neighborhood News (uh-oh, a North Fulton newspaper!!) nailed it when he wrote this, Judges affirm: You have no individual protection:
As for the jury wanting to rectify that corrupted Atlanta bid process, the court added, “The letting of municipal contracts ought not (sic) regularly be the start of a federal case… Governments must have more leeway than that in conducting bid processes for their contracts.”
Yes, Atlanta — with its rich history of bid rigging and airport contract corruption, in this court’s opinion, needs MORE “leeway” in conducting bid processes.
It’s no small coincidence Atlanta is caught up in another round of controversy regarding airport contacts. Once again, the city has awarded millions to connected individuals in the name of protecting disadvantaged businesses; only for the public to discover after the fact — the contracts were awarded to incredibly wealthy, politically connected individuals who fail to meet the disadvantaged standard. Even more frightening, is the precedent this court’s decision HAS created… What citizen will dare spend $5 million and eight years fighting for his or your constitutional rights — when a three judge panel can wipe out a unanimous jury verdict — delivered by everyday Americans?
God bless Billy Corey, and how he tried to protect us — from the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.Here's what the New York Times would publish in 1996 regarding affirmative action and the Atlanta Olympic Games:
All across America, affirmative action has been chased into retreat by lawmakers and judges. But here in Atlanta, the private corporation that is staging this summer's Olympic Games has awarded almost a third of its $387 million in construction and vending contracts to companies owned primarily by minorities and women.
Experts on affirmative action say such numbers are unheard-of in the private sector. But to city leaders, the commitment to minority participation is a reflection of a political reality so entrenched that it has come to be known as "the Atlanta way."
Twenty-two years ago, after Atlantans elected Maynard H. Jackson Jr. as their first black Mayor, the city pioneered the practice of encouraging joint ventures between white-owned companies and those with minority or female owners. Two decades later, even as such programs elsewhere are being attacked as reverse discrimination, Atlanta's political establishment still embraces affirmative action with enthusiasm.
"Everybody who is a person of color in this country has benefited from affirmative action," said Mayor Bill Campbell, the third black to lead a city that is now 67 percent black. "There's not been anybody who's gotten into a college on their own, nobody who's gotten a job on their own, no one who's prospered as a businessman or businesswoman on their own without affirmative action.
"The sad truth in this country, the sad truth even in the city of Atlanta, is that without our affirmative-action programs, our minority businesses would wither."
In 1973, the year Mr. Jackson was first elected, a tenth of a percent of the city's contract dollars went to companies with minority and female owners. Last year, the figure was 40 percent, exceeding the goal of 36 percent the city had set by statute. And these companies tend to have far more minority employees than do white-owned companies. (Black-owned companies here get far more business than do those owned by women or other minorities.)The
But in the actions of Billy Corey (and subsequent reversal by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals), those who can see can laugh. This whole system could come crashing down literally over night.
That's how fragile it is.