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ATLANTA-Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport general manager Ben De Costa expects to solicit new bids next week for the airport’s duty-free luxury goods store for international travelers after a judge ruled his awarding of the contract last week was improper.

The contract at the Duty Free Americas store is worth $1 million a year to the winning bidder, city staffers tell Two politically connected local business groups are vying for the contract.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Constance Russell ruled De Costa didn’t follow a recommendation by a city advisory panel to give the contract to a bidding team led by the daughter of the late Mayor Maynard Jackson. De Costa told the judge he did that because he feared the losing bidder would sue the city over the contract decision, according to court-filed documents. The judge noted De Costa erred when he didn’t tell both groups of bidders he had veto power over the advisory panel.

The Jackson daughter’s team sued the city after De Costa gave the contract to Duty Free Air and Ship Supply. That group included a company operated by Mayor Shirley Franklin’s ex-husband and their adult children, according to court records. The mayor’s son, Cabral, is vice president of Franklin & Wilson Concessions, part of the winning bidder’s group. There were no other bidders.

De Costa says his new bid documents will ask how much revenue the city can expect from the duty-free store’s operations, information that was not stressed on the initial bid documents. The city has been losing about $1 million a year at the store, according to De Costa. He expects the same two bidding teams to submit new bids.

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