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.
So, city taxpayers are out almost $3 million in damages, plus whatever legal fees the city has accumulated — and will continue to pile up in an appeal. For what? So that Barbara Fouch can enter a fourth decade of making millions from a sweetheart contract?
No thanks. End the shenanigans, and re-bid the contract.