Jet Center lawsuit against Airport Authority to proceed
By Teresa Auch Schultz email@example.com April 2, 2014 8:08PM
Updated: May 5, 2014 8:34AM
A federal judge has allowed the Gary Jet Center’s lawsuit against Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority to move forward.
The center, a 23-year tenant at the airport that provides fuel and mechanical services, sued the authority in December in U.S. District Court in Hammond, claiming that the authority gave preferential treatment to another company, B. Coleman Aviation, which is run by East Lake Management.
The authority entered into a contract with East Lake last year that Gary Jet Center says includes special treatment, such as allowing B. Coleman to operate out of double-wide trailers when federal regulations call for all airplane service providers, or fixed-base operators, to work from a space of at least 10,000 square feet.
The airport authority also does not require B. Coleman to pay certain fees that the Gary Jet Center is required to pay or to have above-ground fuel storage tanks, all of which give B. Coleman a business advantage over Gary Jet Center, according to the lawsuit.
The authority has requested that the suit be dismissed, saying that the center failed to state a claim and that the court doesn’t have jurisdiction because Gary Jet Center should have instead gone to the Federal Aviation Administration, which oversees the regulations.
However, U.S. District Judge Joseph Van Bokkelen wrote in his opinion, released Wednesday, that Gary Jet Center had met its legal burden in filing the suit.
As for jurisdiction, Van Bokkelen ruled that because the airport authority promised in its lease with Gary Jet Center to follow FAA regulations, the company could sue it for breach of contract.