Legal Sea Foods sues airport


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 5, 2009

Legal Sea Foods on Thursday announced it has filed a lawsuit against Ronald Reagan National Airport.

The seafood chain is scheduled in August to close its location at the Washington, D.C.-area airport after lease negations with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) failed. The suit claims MWAA failed to conduct an open bidding process for the new lease.

The suit would prevent another concession from taking the space and force MWAA to re-conduct the leasing process in an open and transparent way.

The lease dispute began in spring 2008 over a timeline for USD 2.3 million (EUR 1.7 million) in renovations. MWAA wanted the restaurant to close completely in August 2009, while Legal wanted to close during a slower time for the restaurant and in stages.

“We are one of the top revenue generators at the airport and we want to stay,” said Legal President and CEO Roger Berkowitz. “It simply makes no sense to replace a long-term tenant like Legal Sea Foods and our track record of success with a concession that has no history at National Airport. We believe the process was unfair and probably illegal and we have filed suit to stay and keep over 50 jobs we have at the airport restaurant.”

Berkowitz pointed out that Legal successfully expanded its 7th Street restaurant in Washington, D.C., recently without closing it.

Legal also operates two locations at Logan International Airport in Boston and a total of 31 East Coast restaurants.

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