At this very moment, Sam's at the inaugural meeting of the Love Field Concessions Committee, and never have so many been so concerned about the selling of food, drink and magazines at an airport. That said, I finally spoke with Sylvia Ross, the vice president of compliance and contracts at Concessions International, Ltd. -- the company for which Mayor Tom Leppert's consultant, Willis Johnson, has gone to work as a lobbyist at Dallas City Hall.
I asked her, point blank, whether the Atlanta-based company is vying for a concessions contract at Love Field. She replied, at first: "Let me tell you about Concessions International. We have a very detailed list of criteria we rely on to detemine whether to pursue business at any airport, and DFW [International Airport] meets that criteria."
I asked her: What are those criteria? To which she responded: "It's a very detailed list and not something we share. It's internal."
So, I tried again: Does Love Field meet those criteria?
"DFW meets our criteria," she said. "Love Field did not."
So, then, Concessions International is not going to bid on Love Field?
"Not according to our criteria."
Sure, I say. But that's Love Field right now. It's about to undergo a massive overhaul courtesy the Love Field Modernization Program, which will drastically reshape the airport. Isn't it possible that sooner than later, Love Field could fit Concessions International's criteria?
"I don't know," she said. "Based on our criteria we have right now, that's not an airport we're gong to pursue, but DFW is an airport we'll be looking at."
I then asked her why Johnson's asking about DFW International Airport at City Hall, per his lobbyist registration form. Because, after all, city council members have no say on concessions at DFW -- and Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway insists, hard, he didn't talk to Johnson about concessions there anyway, despite what his form says.
"That's a question you'll have to get with Willis about. I can't answer that," she said
I asked her how Concessions International ended up hiring Johnson in the first place.
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"He's a consultant," was her short answer.
So, then, just to be sure: Concessions International has no intention of going after a bid at Love Field?
"Just for DFW," she said. "Absolutely."
And that was that. Sam will be along later with his recap from today's wingding.