STITA Cab Challenges Yellow Taxi Lobbyist Over Role In Taxi Contract

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On Thursday (April 15) STITA Cab announced that it is challenging Chris Van Dyk, lobbyist for Yellow Taxi, to provide documents and answer questions about his role in drafting two rival taxi contract proposals.

Yet, according to documents (download PDF here), Van Dyk has failed to respond to subpoenas in the case and on Wednesday (April 14) filed a motion to plead the Fifth Amendment. The motion will be noted for decision in King County Court this Friday (April 16).

As we’ve previously reported, STITA has filed two lawsuits against the Port for its alleged mishandling of switching cab vendors over from STITA to Yellow Taxi. They have also accused Van Dyk of collusion in the RFP process.

Prior to this, the most recent news was Feb. 22nd, when the Washington state Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the cab company by granting a temporary injunction against the Port of Seattle’s planned contract with Yellow Cab/Puget Sound Dispatch.

According to STITA:

“If Chris Van Dyk has nothing to hide and didn’t do anything wrong, then why is he pleading the Fifth?” said Jesse Buttar, STITA spokesperson. “Clearly, it’s time for the Port of Seattle to do the right thing and re-write the proposal request and re-bid the contract.”

The Port of Seattle faces two lawsuits stemming from its handling of a competitive contract process for the exclusive rights to offer cab service for passengers leaving Sea-Tac Airport. The Seattle-Tacoma International Taxi Association (STITA) filed a lawsuit in January against the Port of Seattle to stop the Port from awarding its airport taxi contract to Yellow Cab.

On Feb. 12, Farwest Taxi (Rainier Dispatch), which was part of a joint venture that submitted a bid to the Port last year, filed a separate lawsuit alleging that Van Dyk had misappropriated the joint venture’s confidential information and had improperly passed it on to the winning bidder, Yellow Taxi. Farwest’s suit requests the court to disqualify Yellow Taxi’s bid, require the Port to start over and reinitiate a new Request for Proposal (RFP) process, and bar Yellow Taxi from bidding on the new RFP.

Van Dyk’s assertion of the Fifth is important because the Port’s RFP states: “One or all responses will be rejected if there is reason for believing that collusion exists among Proposers, and no participant in such collusion will be considered in future proposals for concessions at the Airport.” [RFP, 13.4.1, p. 6]

Last year, the Port opened the contract for on-demand taxi cabs at Sea-Tac and issued a Request for Proposals. In December, the Port awarded a five-year contract to Yellow Cab, to start in September. However, the Port currently is blocked from signing the contract with Yellow while the lawsuits make their way through the legal system.


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3 Responses to “STITA Cab Challenges Yellow Taxi Lobbyist Over Role In Taxi Contract”
  1. the rest of the story... says:

    STITA–and Jesse Buttar, who owns a couple million dollars worth of STITA & other taxicab licenses–are only able to demand Van Dyk’s deposition because they are defendants in the Rainier lawsuit.

    However, the irony is, STITA is cooperating with, if not orchestrating Rainier’s actions
    in filing and pursuing that lawsuit—-among other reasons, just so STITA’s lawyers can depose Van Dyk, which evidently was an oversight they had failed to do in the STITA suit itself.

    As part of that ‘go mess around with Yellow’ deal, STITA evidently promised to merge with Rainier if they fail to get the airport contract, and give Rainier alone access to the airport if they win. Another rumor is on the street is that STITA gave the President of Rainier cash, personally, for services rendered.

    Van Dyk is simply refusing to play STITA’s game.

    His position is simply that Yellow and the Joint Venture proposals beat STITA — fair and square —- and Van Dyk and Rainier and STITA all know it. And he knows, as has been shown in the deposition of Rainier’s President, that Rainier was fully aware that he was writing both the Joint and Yellow’s response to the RFP, and that this was done carefully with all due regard to the Port’s bidding rules. The scoring and award was made by the Port, with Yellow and Van Dyk — and STITA and Orange and Farwest (Rainier) all assiduously following the rules. STITA loses, goes to Court, sour grapes, no more and no less.

    Van Dyk is mad as hell that, as a private businessperson, who simply wrote a winning response to an RFP, he has been made subject to the lies, innuendo and false accusations of the political hacks and DUI chasing lawyers that STITA has retained — itself directly and through Rainier — to make its case.

    America’s constitution & bill of rights was written to defend ordinary people against the false and outrageous accusations of the English kings’ men.

    In this instance, Van Dyk is simply asserting the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination, not so much so because were he to testify, he would have to wallow in a pig’s sty with STITA’s and Rainier’s attorneys for hours on end, but given the debased and meritless legal claims that they have made to date, and the public twisting of a
    record that is well known to them, through the political hacks they have retained to make that public case, Van Dyk has no confidence that a deposition that is not before a judge and open to the public for full disclosure would result in anything but further lies and twisting of the record by those hacks and STITA’s and Rainier’s mud-loving lawyers.

    That’s why Van Dyk’s message to STITA ‘s lawyers is pretty simple—-tell a Judge why you need the deposition, who your real client is—and if the Judge says ‘talk’, sure, he’ll talk. But let’s make sure you and your hack PR firm is not just gaming the system, trying to get in Court what your client could not get in a fair and open, public bidding process.

    The bottom line? Yellow outbid STITA by some $5 million. Get over it, move on, get on with business. Make money the old fashioned way—earn it, not through shyster lawyers.

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    • Coverofnight says:

      OK, Mrs. Van Dyk………calm down. Seriously though, this will be a real interesting story to keep an eye on. Wonder if we’ll see some shenanigans like we saw with the contract for the third runway. Quite a lot of drama at the airfield………….!!!!!

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  2. truth in reporting says:

    The only drama here is that STITA lost the bid, and the whole deal was clean.

    About as exciting as watching a Tide commercial on television.

    And that is the way it should be—-but that is also why STITA hired a spinmeister public relations firm populated by political hacks and insiders—to twist drama into the story, and browbeat the media and politicians into undoing a clean deal.

    Lord help us that government contracting should be clean. Where’s the political insiders that keep it all greased, like they were supposed to, for STITA?

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