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Mayor Reed lashes out at critics of airport concession contracts | News

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Mayor Reed lashes out at critics of airport concession contracts

ATLANTA -- A debate over concessions contracts at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport between Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and William Perry of Common Cause Georgia got heated and personal at times Wednesday night on 11Alive's Daily 11@7.

During the debate, Reed questioned Perry's motivations in making allegations that concessions contracts at the airport were not transparent.

"He is a hypocrite," Reed said of Perry. "You cannot complain about behavior that you engaged in when you ran for the school board, you ran for the city council, failed, and now try to build your political career trying to damage the City of Atlanta."

"Mr. Perry is a person who ran for the city council and lost, ran for the school board and lost," Reed said. "I do not appreciate the way he has targeted the City of Atlanta."

Perry said the Mayor's remarks only served to distract from the real issue at stake. "We're focusing on pay-to-play and this reform effort and how large political contributions are affecting the process," Perry said.

"I'm incredibly disappointed that this has gotten personal," Perry added.

Tuesday night, the Atlanta City Council voted to approve contracts for new concessions at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The measure passed by a vote of 12 to 3.

RELATED | Atlanta council passes airport concessions contracts

The city's aviation department is estimated to receive more than $51 million per year from gross food and beverage sales from the contracts, which coincide with the May opening of a new international terminal. Critics, including Perry's Common Cause Georgia organization, wanted more vetting of the process and bidders.

The contracts cover operating rights for 150 restaurant, bar and retail locations at Atlanta's airport. The Varsity, Shane's Rib Shack, Willy's Mexicana Grill and Sweet Georgia's Juke Joint are among the new brands that winners of the contracts will introduce to the airport.

Critics wanted the vote delayed by a week or two because they said some of those concessionaires funneled money to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed's campaign.

But, Mayor Reed said he had nothing to do with selecting the winning contracts, that the move was only good for Atlanta's airport. He also said he gave some of the campaign contributions back.

"The level of hipocracy is stunning," Reed said during the city council meeting Tuesday. "I'm sick of it."

"Common Cause, which has driven the media inquiries around this, has so much stain on it that it stinks," Reed added.