The audit also said GDOT’s certification program lacks written policies and procedures, files were missing documentation and the staff should consider having an accounting firm review tax returns, among other issues.
The GDOT review was completed after the Federal Aviation Administration sent memos earlier this year saying four airport concessionaires awarded contracts as disadvantaged businesses in Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport’s restaurant contracting should not have qualified or lacked adequate documentation. Disadvantaged business certification is one factor for contract awards but is not the sole factor.
The four firms have gone through decertification hearings, but final decisions are pending. The city of Atlanta said it “remains committed” to complying with airport concessions disadvantaged business participation goals.
One of the firms, Mack II, is headed by Mack Wilbourn, who has hosted President Barack Obama at his home for a fundraiser, according to a White House press pool report. The FAA said it has cause to believe Mack II is not eligible for disadvantaged status because too many of Wilbourn’s assets were excluded in the calculation. And, the FAA said it believes Wilbourn could not have qualified under the higher $1.32 million cap either.
In the case of another firm, Hojeij Branded Foods, the FAA raised questions about whether firm owner Carol Hojeij’s personal net worth was below the cap, questioning the exclusion of certain assets.