Taxicab Companies Request State Investigation Into Port Of Seattle

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On Wednesday (Feb. 27th), STITA and Farwest taxi companies sent letters to Washington State Auditor Brian Sonntag and Attorney General Rob McKenna, urging an investigation into the Port of Seattle.

This follows a recent, fast-paced rash of two lawsuits filed against the Port for its alleged mishandling of switching cab vendors over from STITA to Yellow Cab (read our previous coverage here).

The letter to the State Auditor asks him to investigate the Port’s handing of the entire on-demand taxicab RFP (Request For Proposal) process, which resulted in the two recent lawsuits.

The letter to Attorney General McKenna requests not only for an investigation of the Port, but also of lobbyist Chris Van Dyk, who is accused of collusion in the RFP process.

“It’s time for the auditor and the attorney general to step in,” said STITA spokesperson Jesse Buttar in a statement. “We hope they will take a careful look at the allegations against the Port.”

We got in touch with Perry Cooper, Media Officer for the Port, who said:

“Understand we have just received this and will review our records again…but we are still emphasizing that we are confident the RFP and bidding process was fair, open and transparent.

We have reviewed our approach continually throughout a thoughtful and thorough RFP and bidding process.

We are aware of no facts that would support allegations of collusion.

At no time during the process did anyone file an official complaint.

We were not aware of these allegations until the suit was filed.”

Both letters are enclosed below, and are available also for download here (both as PDF files):

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5 Responses to “Taxicab Companies Request State Investigation Into Port Of Seattle”
  1. Thinking Girl says:

    What a bunch of whiners. STITA didn’t win, and they can’t handle the fact that after 20-years of an exclusive, no-bid contract, they lost. Such a pity.

    Perhaps someone who wants to get at the bottom of some of the STITA owners could look up all the business licenses that Jesse Buttar has with the Secretary of State. Interesting how many different versions of companies he owns — Buttar and Virk Holding Company AND a different business of Buttar and Virk Holding Company. Gotta wonder how much integrity this guy has?

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  2. Chris Van Dyk says:

    Gurcharan Dhaliwal is President of Rainier Dispatch (Farwest Taxi). Jesse Buttar, also signer of the letters, owns both STITA and Yellow taxicabs. Neither is an active driver/operator of taxicabs.

    Gurcharan Dhaliwal’s General Manager of Farwest, James Thompson, was present at meetings with myself, James Kipper, General Manager of Orange, and Frank Dowgwilla , General Manager of Yellow at which the terms of the Joint Venture were decided; it was also made clear to the Joint Venture partners that I would be drafting both the Joint Venture proposal and the Yellow proposal. All three signed the Joint Venture proposal; James Thompson of Farwest helped me hand-deliver the Joint Venture proposal and the Yellow proposal to the Port of Seattle. It is rather hard to believe, as these letters state, that Mr. Thompson and Mr. Dhaliwal were unaware that I had drafted both proposals.

    The Port encouraged Joint Ventures between otherwise competing taxicab association bidders on the Airport contract. All three Joint Venture partners knew the terms of the Joint Venture bid; any acting alone could have outbid it. As it was, all three entities felt that the Joint Venture stood the best chance of outscoring STITA on the bid.

    In the scoring by the Port, Yellow scored 81 out of 100 points. The Joint Venture scored 76. And STITA scored 70. Farwest by itself, however, scored some 26 points—obviously, on its own, Farwest did not bring much to the taxicab table. Now, STITA has joined up, seemingly, with Farwest to try and deny Yellow a win, a win that it got fair and square. Farwest is offering up lies, half-truths, and baseless allegations. What exactly has STITA offered to Farwest, in exchange for its perjury?

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    • kspr77 says:

      Chris, I am sure you know how to read ! it is damn clear in the RFP that you cannnot collude any 2 bids peroid. You cannot put your hands in both buckets and know the
      revenue number. Why Yellow was participating in the Joint Venture when they have appx 400 cabs of their own? I know why – JUST TO SMELL THE REVENUE NUMBER . You should be working for Secret Service. You got money from Seattle Taxi Owners Assoc few years back then last year you jumped to Yellow. You are a Mr. Corrupt of city of SEATTLE … Robbery is a Robbery even though you told the homeowner that I am
      coming to rob your house . Even if we give you a benefit of doubt, YOU ACTED ILLEGALLY and made fool of the Port. We have been telling the Port that whole process has been fraud and instead of thanking us they are saying that we should have told them before… Only CHRIS VAN DYK knew then… Shame on you Port for being so stubborn …

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  3. Chris Van Dyk says:

    All the Joint Venture Partners knew the Joint Venture revenue number. None of the Joint Venture partners knew each others’ number. In other words, Orange helped decide what the Joint Venture would bid, as did Farwest and Yellow. The number they gave me was what was put in the Joint Venture bid.

    Knowing this, Orange went home, and if it wanted, rewrote its bid—it certainly outbid the Joint Venture on revenue to the Port. Yellow outbid the Joint Venture on revenue. Farwest knew what the Joint Venture was bidding, and for some reason I cannot fathom, bid far less.

    Because no one knew each others’ bid, there was no collusion. The process that was followed on the Joint Venture was according to the terms of the RFP.

    It is one thing to be a sore loser in an open bid. But Mr Dhaliwal and Mr Buttar have gone over the top, in their libelous accusations—-none of which are true, and all of which have little basis in reality. So you have to wonder about the real motive.

    Yellow wants to work constructively going forward, with all taxicab operators, to maximize revenue opportunity—that is the testimony we gave at the Port. The STITA and Farwest actions are only enriching lawyers—at the expense of taxicab operators.

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    • Alie says:

      Did Yellow cheat vis-a-vis Chris Van? Or is SiTiTa advancing its goals vis-a-vis Far west law suit against both the Venture/Yellow and the Port. The Port due to the fact that it over-looked the palgarized Proposal by Chris.

      The Cheating is obvious becuause Chris does not seem to deny that he did so. The question not clear is where he got the ‘Soup’ from. Did he palgiarize Yellow’s proposal to the Port or Venture’s Proposal. In other words, the question remains (and will probably remain) where Chris took the bulk of his proposal from: though he seems to swear (chris that is) by his ancestors that he plagiarized from Yellow (the alternative is and could equally be true). The legal issue raised by Farwest in this regards will come to pass in the court room. That is the issue of whether any intellectual theft involved should bar any contractual stransaction if that transaction involves[ed] harvest of fruits from the said (intellectual) theft.

      However, in as far as Farwest action goes (and as Chris indicates above) a similar ethical or rather corruption (in play) is brought to bear. That is if there’s any dubious relationship between Farwest and SiTiTa. If there’s, then it should be exposed with the same valor.

      This quagmire,however, is telling of something deeper: namely the corruption involved in the industry. The Port has no good standing when it comes to corruption and this quagmire only solidifies the negative reputation it has. Yellow on the other hand is an equally corrupt company; Chris’ action not only adds to this fact but illustrates it.

      The port, to clear its name needs to redo the whole RPE and re-issue it. For the Port to show or even insinuate any seriousnes, if RPf is re-issued, Yellow and Sitita should both be suspended. The Court thus far, seems to be in the right. The silver lining shows: that Sitita might continue rip the benefit, for now. At the end Chris might have harmed the Taxi industry and especially Yellow in the processs. The port if denied this multi-million contract with Yellow might in the end mend its track.

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