An executive from an aviation company has asked Mayor Adams’ administration to look into allegations that a rival was given an unfair advantage when gaining a significant helipad contract from the city’s economic development office.
Thoroughbred Sea & Air CEO Adam Trenk wrote a letter on Wednesday to Kevin Kim, Adams’ Department of Small Business Services commissioner, requesting an investigation into Saker Aviation, a rival. Two businesses submitted bids for the job.
Because Morris Missry, a member of the city Economic Development Corporation’s board, and William Wachtel, Saker’s chairman, are law partners, questions have been raised about the city’s Economic Development Corporation’s decision to award Saker the contract for managing the Pier 6 helipad in Manhattan.
Trenk claims that on September 20, 2022, Thoroughbred Sea & Air filed a bid that, as a minimum, called for it to pay the city 34% of its gross revenue as operating costs for the helipad. According to a bid supplement,
Thoroughbred made a final offer in November that was somewhat greater than the initial one, with a projected baseline fee rate of 34.7%.
An award notice from the EDC shows that Saker, which has been managing the helipad since 2008, suggested in its final offer a baseline cost of 36% — 1.3% more than Thoroughbred’s. What baseline rate Saker told in any earlier proposal drafts is unknown.
Given that Saker had not been paying more than 20% of gross revenues for nearly 15 years, Trenk wrote in his letter that it is “impossible to imagine” that Saker would have increased its offer in this manner “without some inside information.”
He was referring to the fees the company had paid on prior contracts.
In the letter, Trenk stated, “Saker’s intimate relationship to an EDC board member, when coupled with the costs in Saker’s proposed contract for the heliport, merits scrutiny and careful review.”
Whether Saker was given access to Thoroughbred’s competitive intelligence throughout the procurement process is one of the things that worry the company.
Trenk requested that the Department of Small Business Services look into his claims but declined further comment.
Information on pending bids for city contracts must be kept private to prevent any one party from acquiring an undue advantage by being aware of the proposals made by competitors.
But, citing procurement process protocol, the EDC, which was informed of Trenk’s communication, said on Thursday that it would handle an “examination” of his concerns.
Jeff Holmes, a representative for EDC, angrily refuted Trenk’s claims.
Holmes added, “It is disheartening that the Daily News is again defending a resentful corporation that lost a city contract and disseminating false claims about a stringent selection process.