Avitat Westchester Challenging Loss of Hangar Lease

 - March 12, 2009, 12:05 PM

FBO Avitat Westchester is about to lose the lease on one of the largest hangars–E-1–at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. But, according to Avitat CEO Michael Dolphin, the RFP process that calls for the lease to be granted to JPMorgan Chase “was flawed, violated longstanding county practices and was a retaliatory action against Avitat for complaining about illegal practices at the airport.” Avitat, which has been in business at Westchester County since 1993, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, seeking damages and injunctive relief for “for violation of its Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection and due process, plus violation of its First Amendment right to free speech and to petition the government for redress of grievances.”  According to Dolphin, Avitat would have to reduce its 60-person workforce by 50 percent if it is unable to renew its lease for Hangar E-1. If the county goes ahead with its plans to lease the hangar to JPMorgan and Avitat wins the lawsuit, then it could cost the county “upwards of $100 million in reduced fees and potential damages,” Dolphin added.