We haven’t heard anything the ongoing battle over the Sea-Tac airport taxi contract lately. But the news that broke yesterday suggests that one of the lawsuits attempting to re-open bidding on the contract may have a shot.
On Wednesday area lobbyist Chris Van Dyk, who penned the top two pitches considered by the Port in December, pled the fifth regarding his role in the drafting of the competing bid. This looks good for the lawsuit filed by Farwest Taxi, a cab company that worked with Yellow Cab, Orange Cab, and Van Dyk to craft a joint venture for the airport contract. Farwest claims that Van Dyk used confidential information from the other two companies to beef up the winning Yellow Cab contract, while underselling the joint venture, all while the port looked the other way.
Farwest’s lawsuit asks the Port to scrap the current agreement, resubmit a new Request for Proposal, and ban Yellow Cab from competing.
The Seattle-Tacoma International Taxi Association (STITA), the other cab company suing the Port, is pretty excited about this news too, although their own lawsuit appears to be going nowhere. But they don’t really need it to. Both lawsuits are trying to re-open bidding, which would put Farwest, STITA, Orange Cab, etc. back in the ring.
According to a press release from STITA:
Van Dyk’s assertion of the Fifth is important because the Port’s RFP states: “One or all responses will be rejected if there is reason for believing that collusion exists among Proposers, and no participant in such collusion will be considered in future proposals for concessions at the Airport.” [RFP, 13.4.1, p. 6]
That would definitely mean no more Yellow Cab in future negotiations. The Port has no comment as long as litigation is ongoing.
Update: I'm still having trouble tracking Van Dyk down for his side of the story. Will update when I get him.
Update Squared: I finally got in touch with Chris Van Dyk, and he is pissed. I mean really, really pissed. He claims that because his opponents weren't able to win fair and square, they have instead decided to try to get their way by "on the fucking front page of the Seattle Times, or the back page of The Stranger. They are fucking with the media, they are fucking with blogs…"
When asked about his plea, Van Dyk said that he merely took the fifth to the Farwest lawyers who tried to have him deposed on Wednesday, not because he has anything to hide. "I’m simply telling them that I will sit down with any federal prosecutor any king county procescuter, any judge and go over all this material in great deal," Van Dyk said. "But I am not going to sit in front of a shyster lawyer named Michael Goldfarb [STITA's lawyer] who will twist anything I say for the media." Van Dyk made clear that all his statements were only on behalf of himself, and did not reflect the views of his client. Then he swore some more.
Clearly, this case is just going to uglier. Van Dyk appears to be ready for escalations. “I am not somebody to just fucking drag through the goddamn mud with libelous allegations, and expect me to sit here and keep my fucking mouth shut,” Van Dyk said.