The Miami-Dade Commission voted Tuesday to reject Mayor Carlos Gimenez's recommendation on which company should have the concession to wrap baggage at the airport.
"I am disappointed that when they made the recommendation that they did not go with my recommendation, but I'm also disappointed that they left 13 percent on the table,” said Gimenez. “The second company did not match the percentage of gross we had from the first company."
They also voted to award the contract to the other company, SecureWrap.
“"The commissioners did something to save this business, not going with 65 percent would have destroyed the business," said Radames Villalon, President of SecureWrap.
Sinapsis is the company that currently wraps the bags in plastic.
“"We're disappointed, unfortunately, politics entered the picture, as the airport director said, the process was followed to a T, we won fair and square, we were the recommended firm," said Pablo Acosta, lawyer representing Sinapsis.
The mayor and aviation staff argued that Sinapsis offered a much more lucrative bid, which would pay the county 65 percent of profits as opposed to 52 percent from SecureWrap.
But commissioners were turned off by the track record of Sinapsis because the company made promises with its current deal, then begged the county to lower the amount it had to share, saying it was losing money.
The fact that Securewrap is a local company while Sinapsis is an Italian company seemed to make a difference as well.
The discussion lasted three-and-a-half hours, which might seem excessive for such a relatively small contract. When it became obvious which way the commissioners were going to vote, the county's aviation director, Jose Abreu, said from the podium: "Our recommendation is going down like a led zeppelin, and that's how the band got its name, you know." Much laughter ensued.
Also mocking the length of the discussion, Commissioner Javier Souto said, "We're gonna end up on Saturday night Live if we continue like this!"