A $3m lawsuit has been filed by Branch/McGowen Ventures in the Harris County District Court accusing officials at Bush Intercontinental Airport of fraud and breach of contract.
Branch/McGowen Ventures is a partnership consisting of ex-Councilman Ernest McGowen and local fast food operator Theldon Branch which has operated the duty free concession in partnership at Houston since 1995.
Its suit against the City alleges that it was misled into agreeing to raise $0.5m for improvements to its shops in exchange for a contract renewal. The partnership claims to have raised most of the money, only to see the business awarded to The Nuance Group Houston LLC by the airport selection committee last January.
According to documents this contract is now being reviewed and has still not yet been formally approved. Although the subject made the June 22 City Council agenda, The Business has examined official records which show that Council Members Holm, Galloway, Green, Khan, Wiseman and Sekula-Gibbs ‘tagged’ the subject, effectively delaying it.
However, airport and City officials are quoted in the local Houston press as saying that it is unlikely that the award will be reversed or cancelled. Officials are now hopeful that the new stores in Terminal D will open next month.