by: Jenna Deery Updated:CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Airport officials said Monday they plan to take a closer look at current cab contracts after some cab owners accused former Mayor Patrick Cannon of running a pay to play scheme.
In 2011 the city limited the number of cab companies at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport from 12 to three. Officials wanted to ensure better customer service and cut down on cab crowding. Five-year contracts with the option for annual renewal eventually went to Crown Cab, Yellow Cab and City Cab.
Several cab companies sued the city after the selection in 2011. The city won all related litigation.
Still, several taxi cab company owners have claimed the selection process was flawed, alleging business at the airport was promised to them if they gave money to Cannon.
Documents showed Cannon did receive campaign money from people within Yellow Cab, which won a contract that's up for renewal in July.
Cannon resigned from office in March after he was arrested on federal bribery and corruption charges. Investigators said Cannon accepted bribes in exchange for his political influence on development projects undercover agents pretended to be working on.
Now city leaders are reviewing the selection process to make sure cab companies awarded contracts received them honestly.
"What we really need to evaluate are what are our options going into July legally," said Aviation Director Brent Cagle. "It may be renewing the contracts so we have a service to provide while we open it up for a request for proposal."
Cagle wants to wait on the renewal for 30 days to study whether the airport needs to start all over with company selection.
Some council members voiced their concerns about going through the process again two years early.
"They haven't done anything wrong," said David Howard, councilman at-large. "It just seems unfair to me because they played exactly by the rules we set in place."
Charlotte Taxi Cab owner Mohammed Alaoui wants a chance to get back to the airport for business.
"The city is hurting too many businesses," said Alaoui.
City Manager Ron Carlee said officials were not going to comment on the Cannon allegations because it could be a part of the ongoing FBI investigation.