Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division: In the matter of bid solicitation No. 10-X-21024, airport operator for South Jersey Regional Airport (KVAY)


No. A-0830-10T1.

Superior Court of New Jersey, Appellate Division.

Argued November 14, 2011.
Decided January 17, 2012.

Arthur L. Porter, Jr. argued the cause for appellant South Jersey Regional Airport, LLC (Fischer Porter Thomas & Reinfeld, P.C., attorneys; Mr. Porter, of counsel; Aaron E. Albert and Albert O. Kwon, on the brief).

Kimberly A. Sked, Deputy Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent Division of Purchase and Property, Department of the Treasury (Paula T. Dow, Attorney General, attorney; Beth Leigh Mitchell, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel; Ms. Sked, on the brief).

Before Judges A. A. Rodríguez, Ashrafi and Fasciale.

South Jersey Regional Airport, LLC, (SJRA) appeals from the June 29, 2010 decision of the Division of Purchase and Property (the Division) to award Cave Flight School, LLC, (Cave) a contract to operate a State-owned airport, and the Division's September 24, 2010 decision rejecting SJRA's protest. We affirm.

In late 2007, the Division published a request for proposals on a long-term contract to operate the State's regional airport located in Lumberton, Burlington County. SJRA was the operator of the airport at the time of the request for proposals. SJRA, Cave, and one other bidder submitted bids in 2007. The Division rejected all three bids based upon a 2008 report by an evaluation committee that found flaws in each bid. The 2008 committee rejected SJRA's bid because it did not conform to the mandatory pricing terms of the request for proposals. It rejected Cave's bid because the committee perceived a potential conflict of interest in Cave's plan to intermingle the State's resources and personnel with those of the Flying W Airport, a private regional airport located two miles from the State's airport and owned by Cave. The 2008 committee found that the two airports were competitors and that the Flying W Airport had increased its aircraft tenants through defections from the State's airport.

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