Rental car companies Hertz, Avis, Enterprise and Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group sued the city of Chicago and its Department of Aviation in response to a “do-or-die” public bid process by Chicago O’Hare Airport. The issues revolved around the financing of the anticipated consolidated rental car facility at O’Hare and the renovation of the airport transit system (ATS).
The rental companies (RACs) either had to enter into the city’s “non-negotiable lease and concession agreement” that required collecting customer facility charges (CFCs) to pay for the renovation or forfeit their on-airport business at O’Hare, according to the lawsuit filed on May 22 in Cook County Circuit Court. The rental companies claimed that the city of Chicago unlawfully altered lease practices in order to cover the costs of the project, which have run far over budget.
The complaint maintained that the city’s bidding process required that plaintiffs not only commit to the usual minimum guarantee and percentage of revenues, but also act as a guarantor for many potential unknown construction, debt and operating costs, as well as collect a CFC.
However, as of yesterday, the rental car industry and the Chicago Department of Aviation announced a settlement in this joint statement:
“Working together, the rental car industry and the Chicago Department of Aviation have resolved the outstanding issues related to the financing and development of the proposed consolidated rental car facility and modernization of the Automated Transit System at O’Hare International Airport. We have developed sustainable frameworks for these projects that address the City’s modernization goals while supporting the needs of visitors, tourists and business travelers alike. We look forward to collaborating to develop a first-class facility that benefits rental car customers and the City’s vibrant travel economy.”